Published: 11th February 2019
Students protest SRFTI's decision to revise application fees to a staggering Rs 8,000
The students say that the current admission fee of Rs 8,000 has made even applying to the institute quite inaccessible to a wide class of students
The students of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute are back on protest just three days after the administration accepted their demand for more classes for the students and the hunger strike was called off. The students say that the current admission fee of Rs 8,000 has made "even applying to the institute quite inaccessible to a wide class of students. This alienation is discriminatory to every hopeful film student." The Facebook page of the students put out a post demanding the application fee be reduced.
The hike makes it impossible for students from various strata of society to even apply for the course. "As the fees are increasing, people from various economic backgrounds cannot apply for the course, therefore not only are we getting lesser number of applicants, we are definitely losing in terms of quality and merit," said Nairita Thakurata, President of the Students' Union. "The Government film schools were meant for people from all economic strata so that anyone can dream to be a filmmaker. The fee hike from Rs 2,000 a few years back, to Rs 8,000 is making the opportunity open only for the people who come from an affluent background," added Nairita. The students have written to the governing body members but are yet to get hold of statistics that will help build a stronger case for them.
The Facebook post said that the recent hike has pushed the application fee to Rs 8,000 and is unjustifiable. "This not only alienates a class of people but also suppresses their voice. In a way it is taking away their right to education and right to expression," read the post on the social media platform. "Much like everything the government is doing, dismantling all ideas of public funded education and putting the onus on the student to be privileged enough to earn an education. This has to be a demand for current students in both institutes at every meeting."
The SRFTI students were on hunger strike for 39 hours from February 5 to February 7 before the administration addressed their demands. The President of the Students' Union, Nairita Thakurata started the hunger strike inside the director's office while others joined her later. The students had submitted a nine-point demand charter on February 5 to the Director of the institute which the administration replied to on February 7, responding to all of the nine issues put forward by the students.
The students claimed that if the issue of "unjustifiable hike in application fees is not addressed immediately it will be easier for the government to subsequently raise tuition fees as well".