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Explained: Why Delhi govt-run colleges are facing student protests

Students have said they should get a fee concession this year given the widespread economic distress, and since the institutes are closed, with the upcoming semester to commence with online classes.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi | Updated: August 11, 2020 11:47:39 am
DTU, delhi technological university, DTU fee, dtu fee hike, dtu students protest, dtu fee hike protest, indian express, express explained Delhi Education Secretary Manisha Saxena said: “The fact is that teachers have to be paid their salaries and there are other costs which have not gone away during this period.” (File)

Students across different technical and professional higher education institutes run by the Delhi government are protesting against fee collection demands by their respective institutes.

In some cases, institutes have implemented fee hikes for the year, inviting criticism from students, who have said fee should instead have gone down for the year, given widespread economic distress.

What are the fee demands by different institutes?

In the last week of July, students of Delhi Technological University had been asked to pay their annual fees by a deadline or face a late fine. B Tech students were asked to pay their entire annual fee of Rs 1.9 lakh by August 5. Those who pay the fee after August 5 and by August 13 have to pay a fine of Rs 2,000; those who pay after that but before August 20 have to pay a fine a Rs 5,000; those who submit by August 27 face a fine of Rs 10,000; and those who fail to pay by then may have their name struck off the university rolls.

In the case of Indraprastha Institute of Industrial Technology, a fee hike has been instituted this year. B Tech students who took admission in 2019 paid a semester fee of Rs 1.75 lakh. This year, they were asked to pay Rs 1.89 lakh for the upcoming monsoon semester. The fee demand ranges from Rs. 1.64 lakh to Rs 1.89 lakh for different batches.

Earlier the students had been given a deadline of July 31 to pay this fee – with a late fine of Rs 1,000 per day till August 8, a penalty of Rs 10,000 after that, and admission cancellation if the fee is not paid till August 14. However, after complaints from students, they have now been given time till August 31 to pay without a fine.

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Students of Netaji Subhas University of Technology had also been asked to pay their entire annual fee by July 31 or face a late fine. This annual fee is as high as Rs 1.9 lakh for BE and BTech students. They face a late fine of Rs 500 up to July 7, and of Rs 2,000 up to July 14.

Why are students unhappy with this?

Students across these institutes have said they should be given a fee concession for this academic year, with families financially hit by the widespread economic distress in the country and since the institutes continue to remain closed and the upcoming semester will commence with online classes.

A second-year BTech student of IIIT said: “At the time of admission, we had been told that the college policy is that it may increase its fee by 10-15% after each year, which is something to which we had consented. But given the widespread financial distress across families, they shouldn’t have done it this year at least.”

Different students have floated different demands – waiving fee components such as library, infrastructure and laboratory fees and only collecting tuition fees, the option to pay in instalments, removing late fine clauses.

What has been the Delhi government’s response to this?

In the case of schools, the government had intervened early on in the lockdown and had ordered that private schools can only collect tuition fees. It had also ordered that private school fees cannot be collected in lump sums and can only be collected on a monthly basis, and had also said that schools cannot pressurise parents to pay.

Delhi Education Secretary Manisha Saxena said that while students of these universities should not expect blanket reduction in fees, students who are finding it difficult to pay may make individual cases to their college authorities.

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“The fact is that teachers have to be paid their salaries and there are other costs which have not gone away during this period. We have advised the college administrations that any student who might have problems should be considered sympathetically and given easier options. Of course, any hike is not looked at kindly, but these are self-financed universities. Government revenues are also hit and are being focused on COVID response, so even grants-in-aid will not be possible,” she said.

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