It looks like the JNU bug has finally spread to its neighbor, IIMC (Indian Institute of Mass Communication). The students of IIMC have begun a stern protest against the fee hike in their institution and called it a truly unfair and unprecedented onslaught on their right to education.
The addition of IIMC in the list of academic institutions and universities that have been protesting against the imposition of high fees, has made it clear that the students of many public universities across the length and the breadth of the country are unhappy with the state’s approach to public funded education.
The students of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication instituted a protest against the “unaffordable” fee structure and have accused the institute’s administration of turning a blind eye to the issues of the students. In a statement that they gave to the media, the students of the institute have claimed that even while they tried to initiate a dialogue with the institute’s administration about the alleged fee hike and other issues of the student community, they were repeatedly turned down.
The irresponsive nature of the administration and its inability to establish a rapport with the students has compelled them to launch a full-fledged protest against the same. Another important issue that has been raised by the students of IIMC is the lack of hostels and accommodation facilities on campus. The hostels can house only about 4o students and the students who are not accommodated on campus, have to pay heavy rents outside. The administration is trying to calm down the students by asserting that it is trying to build a bigger hostel to accommodate everyone within the campus. The campus administration also asserts that a fee hike shouldn’t be a problem because it awards scholarships to a large number of needy students and since most of its courses are skill-based and have a large employability, they ought to be treated at par with self-financing courses in a collegiate system.
The students of IIMC have been trying to strike a dialogue with the institute’s administration for a week now but the administration has been constantly turning a blind eye to their issues and saying that it is beyond their ambit to alter the fee structure. They say that since all the negotiations have failed so far, they only have the option of launching a full-fledged movement against the fee hike imposed upon them by the administration.
The protest by the IIMC students comes after the protest by the students of JNU against the proposed fee hike and a raise in hostel charges grabbed eyeballs across the nation. The students of JNU have been protesting against the administration’s move to hike the hostel, mess and security fee by 400%.
The protesters have also come out against the hostel manual and curfew timings.
While, as an outcome of the students’ movement, the JNU administration has announced a roll back of 50% for those coming from the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category, the students have rejected it terming it an “eyewash” and are demanding a complete roll back.
Later the university administration extended the concession to all students and not just those belonging to the BPL category, but the agitating students did not take back their protests even then.
As the JNU bug has spread to its neighbour, it will remain to be seen how far the students of IIMC are able to carry on with their protest against the imposition of an unprecedented fee hike. The protests of the students of major institutions, public universities and academic bodies in recent times against the steady decline of public education under the onslaught of privatisation and withdraw of the nation-state has truly created a solid momentum in the nation.
It truly is representative of the fact that the youth of the nation has now come to the streets and is ready to take back its basic right to quality and subsidised higher education.