Students’ protest over fee hike spilled over from JNU to the neighbouring Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) campus Tuesday, with students staging a strike against the annual 10% hike in their course fee.
However, unlike the JNU protests, here the hike was not announced suddenly, but was mentioned in the prospectus when students of various PG diploma courses took admission in July this year. As of now, students of Radio & TV Journalism pay Rs 1,68,500 annually, those of Advertising and PR pay Rs 1,31,500 annually, students of Hindi Journalism and English Journalism pay Rs 95,500 annually and those studying
Urdu Journalism pay Rs 55,500 annually.
Additionally, monthly hostel and mess charges are around Rs 6,500 for women and Rs 4,800 for men. “IIMC is an autonomous society under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting… Societies as such are supposed to run on ‘no profit, no loss’ basis, whereas at IIMC, the fee is high and increases at a rate of 10% every year… For the past one week we are trying to seek redressal of our issues through dialogue, but the administration says it is beyond their ambit to alter the fee structure,” said Hrishikesh, a student of Radio & TV Journalism.
Around 140 students signed a statement to the Director General (DG) of IIMC, saying they were forced to protest since they had not received any written assurance on their two main demands — reduction in “arbitrary fee hike” and hostel for all.
They, however, said the DG had agreed to smaller demands, including a 24/7 library. Around 30 students also wrote in their personal capacities to the DG, saying they would be unable to afford the second semester fee, due to be paid on January 15.
Surbhi Singh, a student of English Journalism, said the protest had drawn “inspiration from JNU”. “We may have known the fee when we took admission, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that many students are not going to be able to pay this,” she said.
However, IIMC officials told The Indian Express that the Executive Council had “pro-actively halted the earlier system of 10% automatic fee hike every year during its meeting held in May 2019”, and this would be implemented from next year onwards.
A senior official added that the DG had held two rounds of meetings with students and “assured them that their genuine demands shall be addressed by December 15”: “DG, IIMC, has also set up a committee of course directors to look into the students’ demands.”