Published: 06th March 2020
Day after prospectus sparks protests, JNU hastily 'corrects' hike in admission, medical fees
The decision was highly criticised by students and teachers alike and was dubbed as a way to implement fee hikes that could not be fulfilled through the IHA manual last year
A day after protests against a hike in pre-enrolment and medical fees at the Jawaharlal Nehru University rang out (again), the administration issued a corrigendum reinstating the previous fee regimen. The new prospectus released for admissions for the academic year 2020-21 showed an increase of 164 per cent (PhD, MTech, MPhil) and 171 per cent (MA, MSc, MCA, BA) in pre-enrolment fees along with an increase of Rs 991 in annual medical fees. The JNUSU protested at the Sabarmati Dhaba on March 5 against this issue. But the administration revised the fees before the fee hike protests, that had rocked the varsity last year, could start again.
The pre-enrolment fees have to be paid by an applicant to secure his or her seat after the admission is confirmed and this includes the basic tuition fees — the mess charges and additional fees are paid as instalments later. Till last year, an applicant for PhD, MTech or MPhil had to pay Rs 295 and someone applying for MSc, MA, MCA or BA Honours had to pay Rs 283 — this year it was exponentially increased to Rs 780 and Rs 768 respectively. The medical fees, which was Rs 9 till last year, had leapt to Rs 1000 for the year 2020-21. But the corrigendum, uploaded on the university website's admission portal, reinstated the old fee structure for Indian nationals.
This students and teachers were against this sudden hike and JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh had said that they will protest against this as well, "The fee hike is seeping into the University again. But we will fight it again. JNU community needs to unite to stop this."
While sources at the university said that this hike in medical fees was for setting up better healthcare facilities on campus, the JNU Teachers' Association saw it as an attempt to reduce dependence on public funding. "This decision of increasing medical fees only reveals the fact that the revision in hostel charges was only one part of a larger move towards raising the charges levied on students and reducing the dependence on public funding – a part of the assault on inclusive public education that the students are agitating against," said Surajit Mazumdar, Secretary JNUTA. "We had opposed it when they decided on it in December in an Executive Council meeting as well."
Students also alleged that the union members or student representatives were not part of the meeting that decided these changes nor was there any representation from the JNUTA. "This decision was taken in an undemocratic way and we have been trying to get in touch with the administration but we have not been able to reach them since the prospectus came out," said JNUSU Vice-President Saket Moon.