The University of Delhi (DU) has commenced admissions to undergraduate courses from the 19th of June 2018. Significantly, this year’s admission season is marked by a pronounced fee hike in many courses across the varsity.
Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and All India Students’ Association (AISA) have resisted this move towards fee hike. Interestingly, this hike comes at the backdrop of the teacher and student community’s struggle against the onslaught of ‘autonomy’ in DU’s affiliated colleges.
In conversation with DU Beat, Vandana Kaul, a Professor at Deshbandhu College, said, “The fee hike is indeed serious. We saw that in the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) strike, students and karamcharis had both expressed their grievances against the fragmentation and privatisation of DU through graded autonomy. The fee hike is a consequence of this move towards autonomy.”
Madhurima Kundu, Secretary of AISA’s DU unit, told the DU Beat correspondent, “On the first day of this year’s admission season, we had protested in front of the Vice Chancellor’s (VC) office. We had met the Dean of Students’ Welfare as well. We were informed that the hike in fees was carried out without knowledge of the varsity. Now, we will be holding protests in the colleges where fee hike has taken place.”
Meanwhile, in a phone call conversation with DU Beat, Anshika Dutta, a DU applicant of this academic session testified, “I have taken admission in Kamla Nehru College for B.Com (Hons) in the first list. And I had to pay over INR 13,000 for my admission.”
At Dyal Singh College, the fee was increased last year as well. The staff council has asked for a roll-back, alleging that it was done without the Governing Body’s (GB) nod. The circular which reached DU Beat through a representative of the SFI read, “In Dyal Singh College, Garden Fee has been hiked from INR 25 to INR 300, Annual Day fees from INR 30 to INR 300, Sports fees from INR 600 to INR 1500..”
Countering the claims that the fee hike was done without the approval of the GB, Principal IS Bakshi said, “The rule is, once the fee hike was decided by the Chairman, it has to be approved by the GB. I have placed it on the agenda. If re-thinking needs to be done, we will decide then.”
Some DU colleges have increased their fee citing a hike in hostel and maintenance fee. Deen Dyal Upadhyaya (DDU) College has increased its fees by almost INR 4,000. “There is a marginal increase of INR 4,000, as the annual maintenance fee of the new campus comes up to INR 3- 4 crore”, said SK Garg, Principal of DDU. The SFI’s circular informed DU Beat that in the fees of Humanities stream of the college, there has been a hike of 36%.
SFI, through its circular, has sent out a warning to the DU administration to immediately revoke the “anti-student fee hike”. The circular concluded on the note that the SFI will intensify the movement against fee-hike and autonomy in the days to come as they plan “to resist the attacks on public funded education.”
Feature Image Credits: Free Press Journal
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak