The decision by Panjab University (PU) to hike tuition fee of all the courses from the next academic session led to a sit-in protest by the members of the ‘Students for Society (SFS) outside the V-C office on Monday.
The varsity had recently announced its decision to implement a 20 per cent fee hike in regular courses and 10 per cent hike in all the professional courses of the varsity and its regional centres from the next academic session. Apart from the tuition fee, the varsity has also increased the hostel fee and the examination fee by 10 per cent.
“We had earlier submitted a memorandum to the the PU authorities against the proposed fee hike, highlighting the difference between the fee charged by PU and other public universities including Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The fee charged by PU is already high. Any further hike is unjustifiable,” said Avatar Singh, a member of SFS.
The student organisation has also started a campaign to mobilise support by talking to students in hostels and classrooms. The SFS had earlier led a protest in November, last year, when the varsity had decided to implement the fee hike from the current academic session. The protests led the varsity to reconsider the decision and refer it back to the fee committee.
“The decision will have an adverse impact on the middle class and economically weak students as it will make education a luxury item, not available for all students,” said SFS president Arishdeep, who is also on a chain hunger-strike outside the V-C office.
While lambasting the PU Campus Student Union (PUCSC), Arishdeep said, “The PUCSC has failed in its task of fighting for the welfare of the students. But, we will continue to fight, and appeal to all the student organizations also to become part of the protest.”