Student bodies protest, stage one-day hunger strike against Delhi University's 'astronomical' fee hike

New Delhi: Expressing their anger towards the Delhi University (DU) administration for increasing the tuition fees for several courses, student representatives of Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) and All India Students' Association (AISA) staged a protest and sat on a one-day hunger strike on Thursday. The protest was organised outside the arts faculty on the DU’s North Campus.

"The students have faced many problems while registering themselves through the online portal this time, as the fees are being increased in almost every college. The registration fee for OBC category has also seen a drastic increase at Rs 750, whereas the EWS category has to shell out Rs 300. The criterion for admission under both the categories is an income of R 8 lakh per annum," AISA stated in a press release.

 Student bodies protest, stage one-day hunger strike against Delhi Universitys astronomical fee hike

Students from AISA and KYS protest against the fee hike in Delhi University colleges. Image courtesy: Ashish Mani Tiwari/101 Reporters

According to the Delhi University official website, many affiliated colleges have revised their annual fee structure and introduced a hike ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 8,000 this year. At Gargi College, however, the fee for the BA (Hons) in Business Economics course has shot up to Rs 41,220 from Rs 26,875 last year.

AISA and other students' organisations staged protests on 7, 11 and 14 June before the latest stir, said varsity sources. While the DU administration assured that a meeting would be scheduled to redress the issues, no meeting has taken place till now. AISA and the Students' Federation of India (SFI) have also submitted a memorandum to the DU officials listing out all their demands.

On 8 June, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also protested against the fee hike in front of the arts faculty on the North Campus. Earlier, AISA and KYS also staged a protest against the varsity administration over high cut-off on Tuesday and stated that "students from government schools are demotivated due to this process, as considerable amount of students come from socio-economically weak background." Harish Gautam, a KYS leader, said, "We have tried to speak to the dean of Students' Welfare Association and submitted memoranda, but nothing has changed yet. Now, we are planning to initiate legal action regarding the issue."

On 20 June, the National Students' Union of India (NSUI) declared that the organisation would pay the fees of DU 2019 admission seekers, who are children of late security personnel and farmers. NSUI, in a step to help children of such families, has resolved to pay the admission fees for one year if they secure admission at the Delhi University, a Jagran Josh report stated. Interested students will have to register themselves on nnsuifordu@gmail.com, following which the national committee will verify their claims and help the students from the aforementioned families, the NSUI said.

Students take part in a hunger strike against fee hike in DU colleges. Image courtesy: Ashish Mani Tiwari/101 Reporters

Students take part in a hunger strike against fee hike in DU colleges. Image courtesy: Ashish Mani Tiwari/101 Reporters

On the condition of anonymity, a student from Uttar Pradesh, who is seeking admission in arts courses, complained, "The excessive hike in the entrance application fee and semester fee in several colleges is ruining the hopes of several young aspirants, who come from a humble background. Authorities concerned must take cognisance of the matter, as it will put extra burden on parents too. Is the government planning to kill the aspirations of marginalised students?" Similarly, the father of a student, who scored 86 percent in the Class 12 board examination and is trying to get admission in DU, said, "This is a very serious issue and the government must take some action, as the fee hike will directly affect the future of the young generation."

As per the guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC) draft notification 2017, the central universities/colleges were asked to follow 70:30 the funding formula, of which 30 percent was the internal revenues of universities/colleges.

Many Delhi University colleges, including Ramjas College, St Stephen's College, Sri Venkateswara College and SGTB Khalsa College, are set to revise their fee structure for undergraduate courses from this year, citing "insufficient funds". Some colleges have already constituted committees for the revision of fees. For instance, Bharati College's governing body has not allowed the management to change the fee, except for one course, while a senior DU official said that the administration was unaware of colleges considering a fee revision, a newspaper report stated.

Many admission seekers concurred: "The fee hike will affect students who are planning to register in several courses under the Delhi University."

Photos: Ashish Mani Tiwari/101 Reporters

(Author is a New Delhi-based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com.)

Updated Date: Jun 22, 2019 08:04:15 IST