NIFT Students to Resume Classes, wait and watch
Students of NIFT – Chennai, who have been protesting since 18th March, 2013 against a “steep” fee hike, have resumed attending classes from 21st March, 2013.
They will be on a “silent protest” until they hear of the outcome of a meeting in NIFT – Delhi scheduled for Saturday. The meeting, convened by the Director General of NIFT, would discuss the fee hike. “We hope to hear of a favourable outcome on 18th March, 2013,” a student said.
Students on Monday had joined their counterparts in other NIFT centres to protest against a fee hike which was applicable, not just to new admissions, but also existing students. Students complained that the hike would make the course unaffordable for many, as they also had to purchase additional material for their many projects.
Meanwhile, students said that they had decided against filling forms made available to them on Tuesday seeking details about land and property owned by parents, the make of the vehicles they own, guardian’s name and annual income, education subsidy availed from NIFT among other details, in case they were in need of financial assistance. An official said that the form was the same as that given to students seeking educational subsidy at the time of admission. However, a student said that the offer of financial assistance could not conceal the fact that the fee hike for existing students was highly unjust. “It will be a huge financial strain for most, besides, there are several stringent criteria to be eligible for financial assistance,” the student said.
Officials said that the difference would be between 8,750 and 18,750 depending on which year the student is in as comparison had to be made to the previous years’ odd semester fee.
NIFT Director justifies Fee Hike News
A day after students’ protests, the National Institute of Fashion Technology ( NIFT ) justified the fee hike in the name of increasing operational costs.
The fee structure of the NIFT is the lowest when compared to other similar institutions, even while the institute’s infrastructure is the best, Director of Hyderabad campus N.J. Rajaram said at a press conference here on 19th March, 2013.
While the strike is on at quite a few NIFT campuses across the country, students at Hyderabad have returned to their classes on Tuesday, following a meeting with the Director and faculty on 18th March, 2013 Monday evening. While authorities attribute it to the students reconciling with the fee hike, the latter have informed that it was only a conditional retreat till the issue is addressed at central level.
“We have a promise from the Director that the issue will be discussed with higher – ups in Delhi. We will wait till 22nd March, 2013, and in case of no positive outcome, we shall plan an indefinite strike,” said a student.
Of positive outcome, there is no sign yet.
The fee hike has hit the final year students harder, as they have so far remained immune to the annual fee hike. They have been charged with 40,000 per semester as tuition fee since 2010 when they joined the institute, and the recent hike across the board will burden them by 15,000 more per semester. There are other charges such as security deposit, alumni association membership, library fee, mediclaim and exam fee, which will add up to 75,500 at admission time. Library fee and mediclaim are charged once every year, while exam fee too is added from this year on.
Added to all this, there is a general discontent among students, about the campus placements and pay packages.
However, Dr. Rajaram said, compared to last year, the fee hike has been only 10 per cent.
While the freshers last year paid 50,000 per semester, this year, they will pay 55,000. Cost of operations has increased, and the institute is footing enormous power bills, besides having to operate diesel generators during power outages, he informed.
While capital costs of NIFT are borne by the Central government, all the operational costs are self-financed. While admitting that there is a “problem with placements”, he said the institute is striving to get more companies for recruitment, and to diversify into newer fields.