More than 300 students of National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bangalore, one among the top law institutes in India, protested on Saturday against the steep hike in college fees.
The students held placards that read ‘hike standards, not fees, education not a privilege, mental health matters, keep it affordable’ and lined-up along the entrance to the conference room at the campus’ training centre
The protest took place when the NLSIU’s Executive Council (EC) meeting was taking place to decide on a new full-time vice-chancellor for the Institute.
NLSIU has hiked its fees by more than 27 per cent across the board, a move that has met with opposition from students who have warned that the decision would lead to the exclusion of aspirants from socio-economically backward sections.
According to a notification released on May 15, the tuition fee for various programmes has seen an increase ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh annually for the academic year 2019-20. While students of five-year Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Legislative Law (BA LLB), one-year Master of Legislative Law (LLM) and two-year Masters in Public Policy courses will have to shell out Rs 50,000 more per year for their studies, other courses witnessed a fee hike of Rs 80,000.
Incidentally, the NLSIU stated that the hike was incorporated to meet the payment of salaries of the staff according to the seventh pay commission recommendations. The reasoning had irked students, who expressed dissent on the EC decision to “burden students by implementing a steep fee hike.”
A third-year BA LLB student said she might be forced to drop out of college as the revised fee amount tallied to her parents’ annual income. “Even though this was decided by the EC last year, this came as a sudden shock to us when the notification was shared on the official website asking us to pay the fee under a month’s time,” the student said.
The Student Bar Association of NLSIU Saturday released a statement, alleging that the Council refused to reconsider their decision to hike the fees.
“Upon presenting our strong resentment at the issue, all they have agreed to is setting up a high-level committee to decide on what should be done for students who are being disproportionately affected by the hike,” the statement read.
“A lot of this is unsatisfactory considering the problems that the fee hike imposes. We are told informally that another meeting will happen in Delhi on July 23 in which the Registrar will submit finance reports of the college and the alternatives/reduction of fee hike will be considered,” Hamza Tariq, President of the Student Bar Association of NLSIU told Indianexpress.com
The students have also decided to reach out to politicians at the national level, who have expressed solidarity with the students. The Bar Association has also suggested that students not pay the fee until the problem was resolved.