More than 3,600 students at different branches of the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) across the country are worried about their degrees.
The UGC declared an MoU between FDDI and Mewar University, on the basis of which the students were to be awarded degrees, invalid last year. Students have been jittery ever since. With the matter sub-judice, students are concerned the degree controversy could have long-term repercussions on their careers.
“Those of us who manage to secure placement through the college will still be fine, but what about those who can’t? If we don’t have a degree, we also won’t have the option of switching jobs later on,” said a student.
This uncertainty has triggered frustration, leading to violent protests by students at FDDI’s Noida campus on April 21.
Many students had to take loans to afford the total fee of Rs 12 lakh to 15 lakh. “A lot of us have left jobs to join this institute… After this, if we don’t get the promised degree, it is unfair on us. Without a valid degree, we will also have problems getting good jobs. How will we pay back the money we owe to banks?” said a postgraduate student.
Sandeep Bhatia, deputy general manager of training at the FDDI Noida campus, however, is not too worried because he believes the controversy will not impact job opportunities.
“This institute isn’t going by any degree, it is based more on skills,” he said. “We have a very close link with corporates. In footwear, retail and leather, we are the only institute, they cannot function without us… students’ careers are not hampered in terms of placement. Definitely, there is an issue regarding degree and diploma, but job opportunities are not affected.”
Jyoti Kohli, senior manager of the institute’s placement cell, seconded this view, saying, “Most of the courses are skill-based at FDDI, so it is more important that students know the content and what they’re getting into… Most of the companies are not even bothered whether they are getting a degree or diploma, they are more concerned about whether they have completed the course and are skilled to do the job.” Kohli, however, did add that a quick resolution of the degree issue could enable students to get better offers than those available at present. “We are hoping things get sorted out soon so that next year we can get better placement and a better salary structure and package for our students.”
The HR manager of a reputed footwear manufacturing and retail firm backed these claims, saying, “We have hired two or three students from the institute this year. It’s not that the degree is not needed, but if students have the skills… we would not usually hesitate to offer them a job.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines