The fees for some courses like the postgraduate courses involving Computer Science have been increased by over 100%.

Pondicherry University students protest against fee hike demand roll-back
news Protest Thursday, February 06, 2020 - 18:51

On Thursday, hundreds of students undertook a march towards the administrative block in Pondicherry University, demanding a roll back of fee hike and transportation fee recently imposed on the students.

According to Pondicherry University Students Council (PUSC) which had called for the students to ‘Occupy Admin’ till the fee hike is revoked, the fees for many courses in the university were hiked exorbitantly last year. The fees for some courses like the postgraduate courses involving Computer Science have been increased by over 100% when compared with the previous years. In addition to this, a transport fee of Rs 4000 was also introduced for day scholars since the beginning of this academic year.

Responding to the call for a united march towards the admin block, hundreds of students turned up on Thursday and laid siege to the building. Many of them went inside and sat in protest outside the Vice Chancellor’s office, demanding their concerns be heard.

“Following a hunger strike by representatives of the former council, a grievance committee- which included students' representatives- was formed to address these concerns. But the Vice Chancellor and the administration consistently remained reluctant, nor did the VC attend the grievance committee meeting. This is a struggle to retain public education accessible and affordable for every student,” said PUSC President Parichay Yadav. 

The students alleged that following the call for boycott, the University had released a circular directing the departments to send them details of the students who had boycotted the classes. The PUSC stated that regardless of the attempts of the management to stifle protests, the strike will continue till the officials are ready to meet the demands of the students. 

However, speaking to TNM, the Vice Chancellor of the University Gurmeet Singh said that the protests are unjustified at this juncture. “The fee was hiked two years ago after consultation with the students back then. Then after they requested, some of it was reduced also. I don’t know why the students are raking this up now,” he said. When questioned if the university is considering taking action against the protesting students, the VC replied in the negative and said, “I don’t think we can take action against them now. Freedom must not be misused and the students must understand that. The fee here is much less than the amounts collected in other universities,” he added. 

These protests also come in the wake of students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University protesting the fee hike in their institutions. The students of JNU, through the JNU Students Union, had held many protests since October 2019 against the steep fee hike. According to the JNU management, the fees were increased this year since it has not been revised for the past 19 years. While the management’s contention was that this money will be used to upgrade and maintain the hostels, the students’ contention has been that around 40% of the students in JNU come from lower-income groups and that they cannot afford to pay the hiked fee.  

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