Ground Report News Desk | New Delhi
Students of premier journalism institution, the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC, New Delhi) on Tuesday began a hunger strike after the administration came up with new circular directing students to submit their increased fee by March 2.
The students had demanded the new circular to be postponed, but the administration did not accept it forcing students to resume their hunger strike. The students are likely to suffer further as placement weeks are likely to begin soon and if the standoff continues potential recruiters are likely to pull out.
A student said that the administration has “cheated us by not following our demand and the direction of the executive committee. We won half our battle by stopping the fee circular in December 2019.”
The IIMC administration was forced to call an immediate meeting of the executive committee. Students are hoping to make the old fee structure affordable.
In the circular issued on January 13 this year, it was informed that the Executive Committee will constitute a committee that will review the matter related to the fees of students by 2 March and submit its report to the concerned officer.
In December last year, more than 100 former students of IIMC wrote to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry condemning the over 100 per cent fee hike within a span of 10 years and demanding a rollback.
As many as 120 alumni of the institute wrote to the secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (IB), expressing solidarity with the protesting students. The secretary is also the chairman of the IIMC Society which governs the institute.
The fee increase by over 100 per cent across journalism courses and regional language courses, respectively, in a decade is staggering by the standards of any government-run institute in India, the former students said in the latter.
The institute in a statement issued on December 8, said it is not a “funded institute” but the website of the institute says it is very much so. It is “utterly shocking” to learn that IIMC has turned from being an institute funded by the government to one which has to generate a third of the fund from internal revenue, the alumni said.
Not only this change has come without adequate discussion among all stakeholders but also the institute’s website still fails to enlist such crucial information for the perusal of citizens of India, they said.
“Such a move is bound to move the institute away from catering to the masses. May we also recall that at an executive council meeting a decade ago it was decided that course fees would be increased by 10 per cent every year. While that itself, to our mind, is unreasonable, the increases in fees between 2018-19 and 2019-20 are way above that level: 27 per cent for language journalism courses, 17 per cent for advertising and 16 per cent for all other courses,” the statement said.
IIMC’s massive fee is topped up by the charges its students have to pay to avail hostels: a steep Rs 5,250 per month for men (on a triple-sharing basis) and Rs 6,500 per month for women, statement said.