Published: 10th November 2022
ABVSME, JNU: Unending sit-in protest by students against exorbitant fees
ABVSME, JNU students are protesting against the high fee rates of their courses despite the lack of good infrastructure for placement
The Atal Bihari Vajpayee School of Management and Entrepreneurship (ABVSME), students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have been participating in an unending sit-in dharna since November 3, 2022, in protest against the school and university administration, demanding their right to an inexpensive and high-quality education. “The university is charging Rs 12 lakh for the entire Management of Business Administration (MBA) course. That is an obscene amount of money for a public university to charge. In comparison to institutes like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) or Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the management school of JNU has no facility or infrastructure which makes the amount completely unjustified,” says Sagnik Sarkar, a second-year MBA student of ABVSME, JNU.
What are the major issues?
Students complain that the department neither has proper infrastructure nor a good placement officer or a placement cell. “Placements are poor here. Students who took out loans to study here are now unable to repay their loans postgraduation. The lack of corporate connect is visibly apparent and added to that such a huge fee becomes a burden,” adds Sagnik, who himself is finding it difficult to pay back his student loan.
Poor infrastructure, lack of training, no proper faculty and an overall dearth in the department of MBA are among the other issues that students list. “A conference room is our classroom, we don’t even have a building of our own, unlike other departments. In addition to our tuition fees of Rs 12 lakh we also have to pay Rs 40,000 per semester as hostel fees while the other students pay a bare minimum of Rs 160 or Rs 180 for the hostel,” complains another MBA second-year student who spoke to EdexLive on the condition of anonymity. Students also informed that the hostels aren’t that different from the other hostels and the little difference does not justify the amount that is being charged to them.
Background of the school: When was it established plus the criticism and opposition it faced
The school of ABVSME was established in 2018 after it was approved by the Academic Council Meeting despite opposition. JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union) President Aishe Ghosh says, “JNUSU was on an 11-day hunger strike following the approval in 2018 but no result yielded out of it. We have already submitted two to three memorandums to the Vice-Chancellor.” The main objection of JNUSU is the introduction of a course in engineering and management studies that was supported via a self-financing approach.
The JNU administration opted to proceed with the admission notwithstanding the demands of the student community and in addition to that, JNU administration attempted to raise the overall hostel fee structure in 2019 by modelling it after the engineering and MBA programmes. This has not settled well with the students of the institute who accused it of attempting to destroy the public model of education. This was followed by protests across the institute which reduced the hostel fees.
Aishe Ghosh informs, “We will again meet the Vice-Chancellor with representatives from the school and if nothing is done about it even then, we will start a university-level protest. When all dialogues fail, this is the only way out.” The students are already on strike and have been demonstrating on campus since November 3. They will keep the demonstrations going till a space for proper talk is created. Their main demands are the reduction of the fee and the provision of appropriate facilities.
Demands of the students
The demands of the ABVSME, JNU students are to reconsider the fee structure and ensure the necessary infrastructure is provided.
In a pamphlet by JNUSU that was shared with EdexLive, the ABVSME lists the following issues:
1. Extortionate fee for a PhD course (which is not considered a professional course) of Rs 50,000 per semester which is 417 times more than any other PhD course at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
2. PhD students are being charged more than Rs 20,000 per month for amenities which do not even exist in the hostel.
3. Tuition fees of Rs 12 lakhs for a two-year MBA programme.
4. MBA students are being deprived of basic amenities like classrooms, reading rooms, labs, placement officers, industrial visits, professional guest lectures, e-resources and so on.
5. Even after paying Rs 60,000 per semester hostel fee, the administration has failed to provide basic amenities for MBA students.