DU likely to hike fee on UGC orders, teachers disapprove
Delhi University students could face a steep fee hike in the upcoming years.
The move, proposed by the University Grants Commission (UGC), could lead to protests by students, especially those coming from poor families.
UGC has asked colleges under Delhi University to state how much funds they can raise internally, triggering fears that tuition fees could be hiked.
Earlier this year, the Finance Ministry had said that autonomous institutions would have to bear at least 30 per cent of the additional expenditure on account of the implementation of the revised pay scale.
The government's share will not exceed 70 per cent, and the Office Memorandum (OM) – through UGC – makes it compulsory for autonomous bodies to generate part of the funds "internally" and be financially self-sufficient, so as not to cause extra burden on the Central exchequer, and also to implement the Seventh Pay Commission.
"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," said a DU official.
Meanwhile, teachers have criticised the UGC order, saying it will prompt colleges to enhance their tuition fees, which is nominal now.
"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," said Prashant Kumar, president, Delhi State Committee, All India Democratic Students' Organisation. He added that poor students will be the worst sufferers.
Moreover, due to the shirking financial responsibility of the government, shortage of teachers will be more acute and contractualisation will increase. This, in turn, could 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", Rajesh Jha, Professor at Rajdhani College and a member of DU's Executive Council said.
"We strongly demand the withdrawal of the UGC letter. It will push the colleges further towards privatisation," Jha said.