Panjab University blinks, announces 10% across-the-board fee hike
Student outfits claim victory; varsity to generate Rs 2 crore through hike; may have to change plans submitted to UGCpunjab Updated: May 07, 2017 23:29 IST
The Panjab University (PU) senate on Sunday rolled back the controversial hike in tuition fee for the 2017-18 session and decided to increase it by just 10% across the courses for new students.
The minimum hike has to be Rs 500 if the annual fee is less than Rs 5,000, the senate said. The fee hike for existing students, however, will be 5% with a minimum of Rs 500 and maximum of Rs 1,200.
On March 26, the senate had approved hike in tuition fee, a move that would have helped the varsity earn ₹9 crore more this session. The hike was 963 % at University Business School, 1,065 % at chemical engineering department, 546 % for BSc honours courses and 500% for B.Pharmacy students.
PU vice-chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover said, “We will generate around Rs 2 crore through the hike. We may have to change our plans submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC).”
Before passing the resolution, the V-C told the senators, “I am cautioning you that UGC will freeze the grant at Rs 197 crore and so will the Punjab government at Rs 20 crore…Think over it. You have to keep it increasing at 10% every year. This (10% hike ) will generate little income. We will have problems with the ministry of human resources and development (MHRD) and UGC.”
- PU senate member and former city MP Pawan Kumar Bansal announced to donate Rs 2 lakh every year to the university. He said if he wished to get out of the annual donation, he will make one-time payment of Rs 20 lakh.
- Deepak Kaushik, president of Non-Teaching Employees Federation, also announced to donate Rs 11,000 every year to PU. Some other teachers also offered not to charge fee for inspections, paper setting and paper checking.
STUDENTS CHANT VICTORY SLOGANS
After the decision, dean students welfare Prof Emanual Nahar made the announcement to students protesting outside the administrative block for nearly 10 hours. The students, mostly members of the Students for Society (SFS), raised ‘lal salaam’ (red salute) slogans to celebrate their victory.
“It is the victory of a constant struggle of students, led by the joint students action committee. With efforts of students, senate members and sections of people, the authorities had to reduce the fee hike which as much as 1,100% for some courses. Although it is a partial success in struggle against privatisation and commercialisation of education,” said SFS president Damanpreet Singh.
“We welcome the decision. It was on our initiative that the V-C called this special senate meeting,” said Nishant Kaushal, president, PU Campus Students’ Council. Nishant belongs to Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU). “Today’s victory is the result of struggle of all student parties. We agreed on 10 % hike since the university is facing a financial crisis,” said Karan Randhawa, campus president, Students Organisation of India (SOI).
Several senators appreciated the V-C’s initiatives in dealing with the financial crisis facing PU.
Prof RP Bambah, former PU vice-chancellor and a senate member, said, “The fee hike was too much for anybody. Universities are supposed to make people think, question and provide solutions. The rise in fee in basic sciences and humanities would have harmed the varsity.”
Prof Chaman Lal, another senate member, said the UGC was armtwisting PU to raise fee. Prof Shelley Walia, also a senate member, raised the question of bringing down public funding to PU.