Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
Over the past months, a number of students’ protests took place across India. With bigger institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University gaining attention for the students’ plight, the issues of students of the comparatively smaller institutions get buried under the debris.
Such is the case of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi, an autonomous Society under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Over the past few days, students of IIMC have been protesting against the uncalled for fee hike in the institution. On December 3, Tuesday, scores of students staged a protest on the campus, demanding that their voices be heard by the administration.
In a conversation with The Logical Indian, 23-year-old Hrishikesh Sharma, an IIMC student pursuing Radio and TV Journalism, says, “An institute which is supposed to run on a “not for profit” basis has been increasing its fee. The institution was established in 1965. For years now, the fee has been rising at a rate of 10% every year.”
“The hiked fee has become nearly unaffordable for so many of us right now. We have been protesting against the high tuition fee and increased hostel and mess charges for days now but haven’t received any concrete response from the administration,” he adds.
The following is the fee structure for various courses for the year 2019-20 at IIMC:
In addition to this, hostel and mess charges are around ₹6,500 for girls and ₹4,800, which the students say is too high considering IIMC is a public-funded institute. Also, not every student has been given hostel accommodation.
Hrishikesh’s family income makes education at IIMC unaffordable for him. He said that there are a number of students whose families have sold their land, taken loans to ensure their children get an education. “Will, an underprivileged student, be deprived of an opportunity to pursue a career in media?” he asks.
“I come from a background that does not allow me to spend ₹1,68,500 for a ten-month course. Additionally, the hostel and mess charges are unaffordable for a middle-class student, let alone underprivileged students. Some students might even leave the course midway as there is no way they can afford the hiked fee,” says Astha Savyasachi, a student of English Journalism.
The students say that affordable education is the right of every student of the country and if they work hard to clear an All-India entrance exam, their expectations have to be taken into consideration.
“We cannot allow media institutes to be accessible only to the people who can afford to pay in lakhs. Education, after all, is a right, and not a privilege,” says Devesh Mishra, 21, a student of Hindi journalism.
Survi Singh, a student of English journalism, says that her family is unable to bear the weight of the fee hike anymore. “My family cannot afford my education, as well as that of my two other siblings. What do I do?” she says.
When The Logical Indian contacted the administration, they were unavailable for a comment.
The students also say that several new entrants who have cleared the entrance examination, have to step back because of the fee structure. “The protest is ongoing, and we will not give up until our basic demands are met,” says Devesh.
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