As reported by The Indian Express on Tuesday, Principal Director of Audit (Central) has pulled up the administration of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) for its failure on several fronts, including irregularities in conducting admissions, the management of finances and property, dealing with thefts of expensive material and its failure to maintain ‘discipline and decorum’ among students in the campus.
The observations in the report are not surprising but the result of neglect and poor management over a decade and a half – for example, the failure to finish courses at the institute on time began with a syllabus revamp in 2000. Even though not a single batch has completed the three-year course within the prescribed time since then, the administration did little to change the situation. The syllabus review committee worked at a snail’s pace. It took the students’ strike last year to shine the spotlight on the functioning of the institute which finally began a revamp of the institute.
FTII has recently introduced a new syllabus that aims to finish the courses in time. However, a lot remains to be straightened out. Filling regular posts is dismal – as per the inspection report, of 50 sanctioned post, 27 remain vacant – while FTII continues to hire contractual faculty. Even now the post of Registrar is vacant and both Dean (TV) and Dean (Films) are contractual employees. Despite the sanction of funds and a budgetary allocation of Rs 80 crore since 2012, infrastructural projects have failed to gather space.
There’s anxiety among students that the administration will use this inspection report which has cited a lack of discipline among them, to intensify the ‘clampdown’ on them. Since the revocation of the four-month long strike in November 2015, FTII’s administration has tried its best to reduce the freedom enjoyed by the students and the influence of the students’ union on the campus. The Vice Chairman of Governing Council B P Singh has gone on record to say that there should be no students’ representation on the Academic Council – a practise that had been followed since the inception of the body.
New statutes for academic functioning framed by the Gajendra Chouhan-led Governing Council aim to bring discipline to the campus with an iron fist: the newly appointed Proctor’s office has been given powers to rusticate students who don’t remain in “good standing” with the institute.
New students recruited in July 2016, had to sign an affidavit saying they will follow the institute’s rules and behave with decency, failing which they could face action. Under pressure to finish the courses on time, the new students are being crammed inside the classrooms from 9 am to 9 pm.