The protest was called up by SFI Delhi University to address several issues including the recent move by various DU colleges asking their students to pay fees in a single installment and without any concession amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, 13th October 2021, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) Delhi University gheraoed the Vice-Chancellor office and also held a public meeting to raise multiple issues directly impacting students and the education system. Around 100 students from different colleges of DU joined the protest called by SFI and the huge students’ gathering resulted in the meeting of the SFI delegation with the VC.
The delegation submitted a brief memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor mentioning several demands including the reopening of campus, rolling back NEP & FYUP, issuing an order to extend the deadline for fee payment, fee waiver to students whose families are facing economic crisis and provision to pay the only tuition fee in installments.
It’s been more than 1.5 years since campuses are closed and now every business, every market, all govt. offices are open but universities are still closed, one reason behind this is that DU Administration doesn’t want any students’ intervention while implementing NEP and FYUP. There are also serious concerns regarding the fees. The fees should be reduced since many of the facilities are not accessible to students. The students especially from backward and marginalized sections will not be able to study if this kind of situation continues. The campus should be accessible and inclusive to all.Akhil KM, an SFI Activist said via a press note.
Recently, various colleges of Delhi University rolled out notices for paying the complete fee at one time with a strict deadline as delay in paying the fee would lead to fines. While the SFI has condemned this act by the colleges and has demanded fee waiver for students coming from economically weaker sections, also many families are facing economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SFI has also demanded that the fee must be taken in installments as paying the full amount at a time would be a burden on the students’ families.
Moreover, the SFI has also demanded to roll back the university’s recent decision to implement National Education Policy (NEP) from the academic session 2022-23. The implementation of NEP will automatically lead to the enactment of the Four Years Undergraduate Program (FYUP), the same scheme which was earlier also enacted by the DU administration but later on, they deferred it citing some reasons. Now not only SFI, but the Delhi University Teachers’ Association has also opposed the move. Various bodies have claimed that NEP is anti-students and a way to saffronise the education system.
The VC and Delhi University administration wants to implement NEP & FYUP in the guise of the pandemic. We have already sent our suggestions to the concerned authorities but still, no changes have been made by them. At Delhi University, students come from different parts of the country and implementation of FYUP will be disastrous for them. DU VC and administration are implementing the agenda of the BJP led central government, not the agenda of our constitution. It’s all happening when students are not in the university and classes are going online mode. Why are University Campuses still closed?said Sumit Kataria, President, SFI Delhi State Committee while in conversation with DU Beat.
Today’s protest by SFI was also a public meeting in which various activists addressed the gathering. Mayank, an SFI activist addressed the gathering and lashed out over the DU administration by saying: “NEP and FYUP should be cancelled because both are anti-student and administration is forcibly implementing these policies without listening to the student community, where is the democracy here and what is its meaning, we today came and tomorrow also will come in larger number and will continue the study and struggle to ensure an inclusive space for all, because we believe in the right to education to all!”
While in conversation with DU Beat, Sooraj Elamon, an SFI activist from Hindu College attacked ABVP for not doing anything over the students’ issues.
The ABVP led student union in DU has become invisible while students are out in the streets protesting for reopening the campus and the exclusive policies of the DU administration. Our struggle is equally against the irresponsible DUSU as it is against the DU administration. At the same time, we can see in other universities such as AUD, and JNU that it is the student unions leading all these movements, unlike DU,added Sooraj.
In a time when the University is partially opened for students of final year, it becomes necessary for the administration to ensure re-opening for the students of other years also in the upcoming time. While the fee concession issue looks genuine that needs to be addressed on a priority basis.
Feature Image Credit: SFI