Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
There is no denying the fact that private education in India is a luxury not all can afford. This becomes one of the major reasons for students to turn towards public education subsidised by the government. What will happen if public education, too, becomes unaffordable?
Punjabi University, a government run university in Patiala, has increased the fees of various courses from 3% to 109%. Many of us won’t be able to bear this cost of our education which will lead us to leave our education.
“I come from a family of labourers and we don’t have a great income source. On one hand our fees have increased and on the other hand, our income has reduced. We earn just Rs 30,000 in the whole year and our fees have been increased by Rs 10,000-12,000 in many courses while fees in some courses have increased to Rs 50,000. Hostel fees have also increased by 20%. Security fees have also increased. Because of all of this, I will have to go back to my home and won’t be able to study here.”Raman Nagla, Student
Raman is not the only student who is having problems in paying the fee, there are many like her studying at the university.
“My father works as a labourer. In fact, he is mostly ill so is unable to work much. Mom mostly works and even I work with them, when I go back to my home, in the field. If the fee continues to increase at this rate, neither I nor my younger siblings would be able to get education. I would say this is not right. Not likely, but definitely I’ll have to leave my studies because for me, even the current fee is a lot.”Sonia, Student
That’s why we, the students of the Punjabi University, are protesting outside our Vice Chancellor's office demanding a complete roll back of the new increased fee structure.
One needs to understand that the Punjabi University is in Malwa region which is one of the low income generating regions of Punjab.
On the other hand, our university is also going through a financial crisis for some years now. We are being told that it has a debt of around Rs 150 crore. Since it is a government university, it needs to seek government’s help to come out of this crisis.
On 29 October, we even went to meet the Secretary, Higher Education Punjab, to seek an extra grant for the institution. We have been told that the government would find a solution to this problem.
“We are demanding grants for the university from the Punjab Government. This is an election year. Mr Channi has come as a new CM and is making a big claim that he has changed the Punjab cabinet. We demand from the new education minister Mr Pargat Singh that please help clear the debt of Punjabi University and sanction the due grant and roll back the fee hike.”Amritpal Singh, Student
Punjabi University’s Response To The Quint-
Speaking to The Quint, Vice Chancellor of Punjabi University, Dr Arvind, said that he has written to the government to double the monthly grant and to absorb the previous negative debt which the university has incurred so that it can move out of this financial crisis.
On the fee hike, Dr Arvind said—
This is a normal process of restructuring and secondly, this was a commitment. Rs 90 crore special grant was released to the university out of which I have managed to get Rs 54 crores in hand. So this year over and above my regular grant, I have received 54 crores of special grant and when that grant of 90 crores was agreed upon, it was a part of the condition given to the government by my predecessor. So, one has to move in one direction otherwise the grant won’t come.Dr Arvind, Vice Chancellor, Punjabi University
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