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Amid a sustained campaign by students, the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) administration will finally put up a proposal to reduce or waive exam fee before its management council, which will meet on June 26.
Over the past few days, students studying in SPPU’s affiliated colleges have been raising demands for an exam fee waiver on social media. A student-led group called Student Helping Hands has also started a photo campaign, where pictures of students holding placards on fee relief are being shared and various authorities — such as the higher and technical education ministry and CMO Maharashtra —being tagged.
At present, the SPPU is accepting forms for second semester examinations, to be held in July-August. Students fill the exam forms through their respective colleges, which forward them to the university. Many colleges had held back forms owing to non-payment of fee before the SPPU instructed them not to do so. However, the university has now announced a late fee penalty.
According to the protesting students, the Covid pandemic has led to a financial crunch at many homes, owing to loss of jobs or income.
“For students coming from rural areas, paying exam fee is a challenge since their families are struggling to make ends meet. In such cases, colleges are not sending their forms ahead despite the university notice. Also, when regular exam fee is a struggle, how can they pay late fee? The university should take heed of these complaints and ensure no student is left out,” said Kamlakar Shete, a student activist.
However, senior SPPU officials said there is already a deficit of Rs 20 crore in the collection of exam fee this year, compared with other years. Vice chancellor Dr Nitin Karmalkar said he was aware of the demand for waiver. “The solution isn’t as simple as that. But we will put this proposal before the management council,” he said.
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