Published: 06th August 2021
Mumbai University cuts library, exam fees to help students during COVID, but they're not happy. Here's why
There is a complete fee waiver announced for students who have lost a parent to COVID. But student groups are looking at the move as just lip service
Despite announcing a cut in 'other' fees, library, lab and so on, the University of Mumbai has faced a backlash from its students. The varsity released a circular on August 5 announcing that all affiliated colleges will have to reduce fees in terms of on-campus services. The waiver has been extended to students who have been "adversely affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic." Students are unhappy because there has been no reduction in tuition fees, which often comprises the bulk of the fee burden. The circular reads,"the colleges may consider giving reasonable number of installments in paying the course fees of the the students by taking written applications from them."
The waiver will be applicable to all UG and PG students across disciplines. The circular has 13 heads under it and the percentage of fees to be reduced. There is a complete waiver on fees taken for industrial visits and the Student Welfare Fund. However, there is only a 50 per cent reduction in library fees, laboratory fees, and gymkhana fees. There is also 25 per cent cut in the exam fees and development fees.
Reacting to this move, Maharashtra Students' Union President Siddharth Ingle said, "The real issue is about the tuition fees which has not been mentioned in the cricular. There is no concession in this. Besides, all exams are online so why is there an exam fee?" He also added that it is a very "confusing circular" as there is no mention of second-year or third-year students, who have already paid the fees in June.
There is a complete fee waiver for students who have lost a parent to COVID, however, Ingle is skeptical about how it would be implemented "as the University has no data on who has lost their parents".
Sachin Bansode, a student activist with another student organisation called Chattra Bharati, said, "Not a single exam has been held physcially. What happened to the money levied on the exam fees earlier? And why are they charging for exams now? The need to refund the exam fees taken earlier and give a complete waiver for this." He added that any decision regarding fees should have been taken in June itself so that second-year and third-year students would've been included in it.
Both Bansode and Ingle said that there is no point in charging for other facilities either as nobody would be using the campus in the first place. The state Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant said on Wednesday that the government is trying to draw up a plan for re-opening colleges for in-person classes and the decision would be taken in the next few days.