Hiked Tuition & Entrance Fees Unfair: FTII, SRFTI Students Protest

Hiked Tuition & Entrance Fees Unfair: FTII, SRFTI Students Protest

My Report

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati

We, the students, of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) in Kolkata, have been protesting since 16 December against the hike in annual fee by 10 percent and what we believe is an exorbitant and discriminatory application fee for the entrance test.

They are charging Rs 1,18,000 as the academic fees every year and Rs 4,000 to 10,000 as entrance fee. At Rs 4,000 (for one course), the fee for Joint Entrance Test (JET), 2018 is comparably the most costly for any Indian public-funded institution.

In various other government institutions like JNU, NSD, the entrance fee is less than Rs 1,000.

Students of SRFTI protesting against high academic and entrance fees.
Students of SRFTI protesting against high academic and entrance fees.
(Photo Courtesy: Samiksha Mathur)

Moving to the fees of the three-year course now, it stands at Rs 3,85907 at SRFTI and Rs 2,45,720 at FTII.

Also Read : IIMC, Why an Unaffordable Fee Hike in a Public-Funded Institution?

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With this fees, we are eliminating several people who actually want to apply but are not able to.

“Education is a basic right of a human being. If that becomes a commodity, and if I have to pay a certain price to write an exam, then what are my chances? Where do I apply?”
Gaurav, Direction Student, SRFTI

Over the course of time, we have had long discussions and negotiations with the administration without a concrete outcome. Therefore, five students from the Pune campus and six from SRTFII went on a hunger strike on 16 December with two primary demands.

First, to stop JET 2020 till the entrance fee is reduced and second, to revoke the 10 percent annual hike everyday academic year.
A student on hunger strike at FTII campus.
A student on hunger strike at FTII campus.
(Photo Courtesy: Shubham Ghatge)

There is a severe financial strain on the students due to the hike in fee as well as food and accommodation.

“My first choice was to study in a central government institution because I can afford it. I am facing problems as I have to pay the college fees, mess fees, the accommodation expenses etc. There is a lot of pressure.”
Manoj, Student, SRFTI

Several have had to take loans to join the course.

“I’ve been able to study here after incurring a lot of debt. I understand what other students go through to arrange money to pay fees.”
Ranjan, Direction Student, FTII

When Will Our Demands be Heard?

The response of the SRTFI director has been bureaucratic. There was no empathy from her side whatsoever. There is always an excuse from the administration.

“For the 10 percent hike, they say that ‘The (I&B) Ministry is pressuring us, they are not funding us.’”
Manas, Vice President, SRFTI Student Body
Posters plastered on a building in the SRFTI campus. 
Posters plastered on a building in the SRFTI campus. 
(Photo Courtesy: Samiksha Mathur)

Adil, a cinematography student at FTII says that the delay in addressing our demands is just another tactic to delay a future course of action.

“The admin has been lethargic in responding to us. They say they will meet us after 10 days. They don’t want to take a decision before that. This is just a strategy to ensure the strike fizzles out.”

We have started a hunger strike for affordable education for every common Indian, not just the privileged. We hope our demands are heard soon.

Also Read : TISS Mumbai Students Protest Against CAA & Violence in Jamia, AMU

SRFTI’s Response to The Quint

The Quint spoke to the Director of SRFTI, Dr Debamitra Mitra, who said that the administration and students are in constant talks regarding their demands. While talking about the 10 percent annual hike, Dr Mitra said that while this was the decision of the Governing Council of FTII, the Council will meet on 27 December to discuss the issue further.

The Director of FTII, Mr Bhupendra Kainthola, could not be reached for comment.

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