The schools, colleges, and universities are shut in the country since 16 March 2020 order from the government of India. This means that for the past 5 months, the students haven’t availed any of the facilities of the schools, colleges, and universities other than the knowledge from the teachers. And with the new semester beginning and the reopening being uncertain, it is not justified that the students are asked for the ‘other miscellaneous’ fees, like, hostel charges, bus charges, electricity and water bills, etc.
Technically, if we analyse, the schools and colleges in the past months have mostly spent just on the salaries of the teachers. Neither are the classrooms used, nor any electricity, water, bus, sports equipment, laboratory chemicals, computers, etc. Even the exams were conducted online in which the cost of printing question papers, the answer sheets used has also got saved. In this situation, these institutions should morally return all the unused charges that had been charged from the students at the beginning of the semester. But on the contrary, the students are being charged the same amount, and even more in some places, for the registration in the new semester. This is unjustified and unethical in any situation, and even more during a pandemic.
Some of the IIMs have had reportedly ‘increased’ the fees for the current semester. Even the state governments have largely kept quiet on this.
ABVP takes up the issue
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) — The World’s Largest Student Organisation, launched a nationwide movement against the unjustified fees being charged from the students across the country. With the growing problems faced by the students, ABVP on 19th August 2020 released a press release in which it unequivocally opposed any form of an increase in education fees during the Covid-19 pandemic. It also stated that the unjustified demand for increased fees across the primary, secondary & higher education institutes will put the students & their parents in great distress.
But seeing no major response from the institutions, the students’ organisation on Friday launched a nationwide protest against the unjustified fees being charged from the students. Also, a successful social media campaign was launched with the hashtag #ABVPAgainstFeeHike.
Protests across various states
There was a protest in JNU by ABVP-JNU against the excessive charges being charged from students.
Karykartas of ABVP Udhampur and Jammu Mahanagar also protested against the University authorities. Karyakartas put forth the demand for Fee Relaxation in the current academic session and that all the miscellaneous charges other than tuition fees must be exempted.
Karyakartas of ABVP Pune protested against various fee-related issues in Savitribai Phule Pune University. Karyakartas demanded that the university should offer fee relaxation to students owing to financial crisis many students are facing.
ABVP conducted Bheekh Maango Andolan at Vasai against the fees being charged for the facilities which are not in use due to lockdown. Various students supported this by collecting money from common students.
ABVP karyakartas in Panjab University, Chandigarh is on strike for past 16 days protesting against the fee hike by the university administration. Karyakartas of demand immediate rollback of fee hike for both m upcoming and ongoing semesters.
Earlier in the day, Facebook live was addressed by the National General Secretary of the ABVP, Sushri Nidhi Tripathi addressing the issues of fees
ABVP led DUSU also demanded reduction in fees and the option of giving fees in installments.
ABVP activists faced police brutality in Punjab.
The movement has started showing results
The movement saw positive results with HNBGU Garhwal University of Uttarakhand, deciding not to charge any other fees other than the tuition fees.
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