Fearing protests, the administration of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has shifted the meeting of the institute’s Governing Council (GC) out from the campus to Mumbai. The meeting—the second since Gajendra Chauhan assumed charge as its chairman—would now take place on Tuesday at Films Division in Mumbai.
The meeting is likely to take a decision on converting the institute into a Digital Media Univer-sity and a change in syllabus. It also aims to set up new procedures and offices to maintain discipline at the campus and hostels. Decisions on the new syllabus, which aims to finish the courses on time and bring in Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) to replace the present system of annual assessment, would also have to be approved by the GC.
On June 1, when these new proposals were considered by the Academic Council and passed, the students had gheraoed Council president BP Singh, shouting slogans to express their disapproval of the new proposals. Students argued that the Digital Media University proposal would turn the institution from a creative space into a commercial workshop where technicians would be trained to enter the film industry.
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The ambitious plan proposed by Singh envisages setting up nine different ‘schools’ under the aegis of FTII, which would offer 22 courses, including long-term masters-level and short-term ones in film, television, radio, gaming and other such fields. The institute currently offers 11 courses—seven on filmmaking and four on television production.
“The GC would also take up the issue of appointment of a proctor, and form strict rules regarding hostel accommodation and conduct. The new syllabus too needs an approval from the GC as the next academic session is about to start,” said a senior official of the institute, adding that the decision to move the meeting venue from the institute campus to Mumbai was taken to avoid “unnecessary trouble” in the light of the stance taken by the students’ association about the proposed change.
Students of the institute have opposed several of the new proposals and had created a ruckus on June 1. They said that they were opposing the undue hurry with which the new administration was going ahead with the proposal without taking into confidence various stakeholders.
“They are showing undue hurry in going ahead with the university’s plans. Although we objected, the proposal was bulldozed by Singh through the academic council. Our concerns are genuine. In its current form, the proposal would turn this place into a market-driven factory. It would end its values, art and aesthetics. There has to be a more elaborate deliberation on this,” Harishankar Nachimuthu, President, FTII Students’ Association had said after the AC meeting. Institute Director Bhupendra Kainthola and Chairman Chauhan couldn’t be contacted for a comment.