FTII-SRFTI fees to be reduced: Governing Council tells students, new fees to be declared on Jan 6

In a refreshing move the Governing body agreed with the students demands and said that they will reduce the fees but how much reduction needs to be done will be confirmed on January 6
FTII students at the protest (Pic: FTII)
FTII students at the protest (Pic: FTII)

In a massive step towards addressing the students demands of reduction of admission fees and annual fee hikes at the government aided film institutes — FTII and SRFTI — the authorities have "in principle acceded to both the demands of the students who have been in protest against fee hike since December 16". An emergency Governing Council meeting on December 27 decided that the entrance fees for the Joint Entrance Test 2020 will be reduced and the annual fees will be reviewed. FTII Students Association President Aadhith Sathwin and General Secretary Rajarshi Mujumdar represented students at the meeting held in Delhi. 

The GC has set up a five-member committee, headed by FTII Chairman BP Singh, to review the fees of regular courses in the film institutes and to decide on the reduction of entrance fees for the JET 2020. The decisions by the committee for both the issues will be applicable this year. The authorities had earlier said that notifications had gone out and it is impossible to apply the fee changes from 2020. "The decision regarding how much should be the revised fee for JET entrance test is expected by January 6 and the review of fee structure will be completed by March 6 2020," said Rajarshi and added that this was verbally communicatee but an official minutes of the meeting, confirming these decisions, is expected soon. 

Students asserted that this is a move in right direction, but urge the authorities not to let this be a false promise. 

"We thank B P Singh and the rest of the board for standing with the students and fighting for an affordable education for all at India's premier film school. And we also thank all the alumni and film personalities who have spoken against the exclusionary hikes in fees and lent moral support to us," Rajarshi added.

Vice-President of the SRFTI Students' Union, Manas Krishna said that they would refrain from commenting on the issue till the authorities make the amount of reduction clear but added, "We are happy because it will benefit the candidates who'll be applying this year. The joint protest and hunger strike of FTII and SRFTI were done because we wanted that candidates wanting to apply this year do not suffer." 

The students had suggested that the fees be brought down drastically to Rs 750 for General category and Fs 259 for women and the reserved categories. "Application fees must be small enough to enable everyone to apply regardless of their financial status. From the JET reports of 2018 and 2019, we learnt that even if the application fees is brought down drastically, JET would still cover its expenses," argued students. "Women are extremely underrepresented in the institutes. Amongst 2019's applicants, just 16 per cent were women. To encourage more women to apply, the fee discount applicable to SC/ST/PwD applicants should be extended to them as well," their proposal further added. 

The JET 2020 is scheduled to be conducted on February 15 or 16, says the official website. 

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