Students at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Hyderabad as well as the other 14 centres across the country stalled classes on Monday to protest the sudden fee hike announced by the institutes’ Board of Governors.
Posters denouncing the unreasonable hike in a government institution greeted visitors. While the hike for the recent batches is to the tune of 5 to 10 per cent depending on the course, the jump for the senior-most batch of 2010 of Bachelors in Design and Bachelors in Fashion Technology at NIFT Hyderabad is a staggering 38 per cent.
The tuition fee for senior students, which amounted to `40,000 earlier have now been revised to Rs 75,000 per the recent directive. The senior batch of undergraduate programme, set to graduate in 2014 from NIFT Hyderabad, has been taken by surprise at the announcement.
“It is a government institute under aegis of the Ministry of Textiles. In each course, around 50 per cent seats are reserved for SC, ST and OBC students. A large number of students also come from economically humble backgrounds and have taken a loan to fund their studies. An unannounced hike has led them to reconsider their decision of joining a government institute. Given India’s fashion scene, these students could have done well to join institutes abroad,” a student requesting anonymity said.
Following the representation by students, the faculty called for a meeting with the students to resolve the issue.
“Students will be at loss if they miss even a single day’s class due to the continuous process of evaluation and testing. We are in the process of collecting their representations and forwarding them to the head office. The decision by the board will be final,” said E Venkat Reddy, IFS and joint director of the NIFT Hyderabad. He added that as the proposed hike was applicable from academic year 2013-14, the outgoing batch will have to pay for two semesters.
Though students from economically weaker sections, whose parents earn less than Rs 4 lakh per annum, are offered merit-cum-means scholarships in the form tuition fee waiver by around 50 per cent, the numbers benefiting from the scheme are quite low.
Classes will resume though the decision by the Board of Governors is pending, as students are scheduled to appear for examinations in May.