Published: 04th December 2019
Protesting IIMC students to launch hunger strike despite admin promising action
The IIMC students' #FeesMustFall protest enters its second day. The administration is to conduct an open house on Wednesday
The IIMC students' protest against the administration demanding a revision in their existing fees reaches its second day. The protesting students say that they'll soon launch a hunger strike if the administration fails to accede to their demands.
"We're told that a faculty-student grievance committee would be set up to address our concerns. But there is no guarantee that our demands will be accepted," says Rajan Raj, an IIMC student. He said that around 90 students are part of the ongoing protest. "We had more student participation yesterday. However, many are back to the class," he adds.
The administration, however, said that it is ready for a dialogue with the students to solve the issues at the earliest. There is also an open house with the students scheduled to be held on Wednesday. "The Director-General has already met the students. We were to have another meeting on 15th and we expected a reaction from the students only after that. This was quite unexpected," says a senior IIMC official who did not want to be named. "We have already acceded to a lot of their demands. One of their demand was to stop the 10 per cent hike in the course fee every year. We, in fact, took a suo motto action against this," he adds.
He adds that the institute collects the same fee that was mentioned at the time of the admission. "There is no interim hike in the fees. We collect the same fee that was mentioned in the prospectus," he says. He stressed on how Higher Education must be accessible to all and that the institute provides freeships to a lot of its students. "Usually, freeships were reimbursed against submission of bills. But this year, we made sure that the students got them awarded right after the entrance examination," says the official. "Fee hikes is a larger debate which isn't confined to IIMC alone. But, our courses are mostly skill-based and has a large employability potential. They must be treated akin to self-financing courses in a collegiate system," he adds.
Another issue that the students raised was the insufficient space in the hostels. "The hostels can house only up to 40 students. The room rents are expensive, compared to the quality of the rooms," says Rajan. The administration, on the other hand, says that talks are going on to resolve this issue. "It is obviously a challenge to build a hostel that can accommodate everyone. But, talks are going on to construct a larger hostel. We are awaiting the required clearance," said an official.