Rumour has it that in the upcoming years, fees at Delhi University (DU) could go through a steep hike. This could be the resultant of the proposal held high by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and can invite mass protests by students, especially those coming from poor families.that tuition fees could be hiked.
Colleges at DU are questioned on how much funds they can raise internally by the UGC, sowing these seeds of fear.
The Finance Ministry had announced earlier this year that on account of the implementation of the revised pay scale, autonomous institutions would have to bear at least 30 per cent of the additional expenditure.
In order to be financially self-sufficient, and not cause extra burden on the Central Exchequer, and also to implement the Seventh Pay Commission, the Office Memorandum (OM) – through UGC – has made it compulsory for autonomous bodies to generate part of the funds “internally”. The government will not pool any more than 70% of the total funding.
A DU official said, “Colleges that are fully-funded by the government say that generating 30 per cent of the running cost only through fee hike seems impossible and yet they have no other source of income.”
In the concurrent notion, teachers have been criticising the UGC order, worrying it will prompt colleges to enhance their tuition fees, which is currently affordable to most.
“The move will create pressure on colleges to generate funds internally, and the college has no scope of generating funds other than by passing the burden on to students. This move can be seen in the background of the statement by the Finance Minister earlier this year, to meet the 30 per cent of the additional expenditure by colleges, on account of the implementation of the revised pay scale. This will cause exorbitant fee hike,” says the president of Delhi State Committee, All India Democratic Students’ Organisation, Prashant Kumar. He continued saying that the poor students will suffer from the worst of plight.
What is again an issue is, that the move, due to the shirking financial responsibility of the government, might lead to more shortage of well-qualified teacher and in turn, increase in contractualisation. All of this is expected to worsen the condition of teachers.
“This is not an isolated move, but the natural outcome of the policy of privatisation and commercialisation of education, which got a momentum after the central government adopted the Policy of Privatisation-Liberalisation and Globalisation,” Kumar stated.
“This step to ‘privatise’ and ‘commercialise’ DU will further widen the gap between the privileged and under-privileged, and deprive the latter of affordable higher education”, a Professor at Rajdhani College and a member of DU’s Executive Council, Rajesh Jha said.
“We strongly demand the withdrawal of the UGC letter. It will push the colleges further towards privatisation,” Jha continued.