‘Roll back fees hike, provide hostel to all students’: India’s premier journalism school erupts in protest

IIMC has raised fees for some courses by around 30%. The students are asking for a freeze on fees for at least five years.

ByAmbrish Kumar
‘Roll back fees hike, provide hostel to all students’: India’s premier journalism school erupts in protest
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For over a month now, students at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University have been protesting a hotel fee hike and “draconian” new hostel rules. There have also been protests against the Narendra Modi government’s New Education Policy across India. Now, the country’s premier journalism school, the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in Delhi, has joined in. For the last three days, students at the IIMC, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, have been protesting a steep rise in fees and the lack of adequate hostel space and other infrastructure. 

In fact, the fees have been consistently rising in the last three years, jumping by around 30% for some courses this year. The steepest rise has been for media courses in regional languages. The IIMC only runs one-year courses.

In 2017-18, English and Hindi journalism courses cost around Rs 72,000. This year, the students will have to pay Rs 94,500. It’s the same story with TV and radio journalism courses, advertisement and public relations, and regional language media programmes. 

The institute has only one hostel for male students. Although there are six hostels for female students, they are not nearly enough. A good number of students thus have to pay for private accommodations. The IIMC currently has 542 students on its rolls. 

In this context, the protesting students are making the following demands:

  • There must be no increase in the fees this year and for at least the next five years. 
  • A committee must be formed with representatives from all departments to look into the students’ complaints.
  • The excess fees charged for the 2019-20 session must be returned to the students. 
  • Hostel facilities should be provided to all students. The lack of space is a baseless argument. 
  • The library must stay open round the clock.
  • There must be no curfew timings in the hostels. 
  • Sanitary pad vending machines must be installed in women’s washrooms.

The administration, however, has a different story to tell. In a response to Newslaundry’s question regarding the protest, the administration said, “It may be mentioned here that IIMC offers skill-based professional PG Diploma Courses with high employability potential in English and  Hindi Journalism, Radio & TV Journalism,  Advertising & PR etc. These are akin to ‘self-finance courses’ offered under the collegiate system, where the course fee is normally much higher than the regular courses. The course fee in IIMC is comparable to fees charged by similar training institutes under the Ministry of I&B. Students’ demand for hostel facility is genuine. Presently, IIMC is able to provide limited hostel facility on the campus as is the practice in many other educational institutions. Hostel facility has been extended to boys as well. IIMC’s plan to construct a new student hostel is yet to get regulatory clearance, since the area falls under Delhi’s ecologically sensitive ridge area.”

They add, “IIMC is a grant-in-aid institution under the Ministry of I&B. As such it is required to generate a certain portion of internal revenue too. Although course fee is the main source of revenue, IIMC Executive Council has pro-actively halted the earlier system of 10% automatic fee hike every year during its meeting held in May 2019.”

Translated from Hindi by Chahak Gupta.

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