Panjab University V-C’s meeting with research scholars disrupted after sloganeering
Panjab University vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover’s meeting with research scholars had to end abruptly after the participants raised a ruckus over his response to a question on recent fee hike. Even though the message for the meeting --- to explain the rationale for the fee and elaborate on one of the worst financial crisis varsity had been going through ---- was sent only in the morning, the varsity auditorium was packed to capacity when the meeting started at 2.30pm.punjab Updated: Apr 18, 2017 11:35 IST
Panjab University vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover’s meeting with research scholars had to end abruptly after the participants raised a ruckus over his response to a question on recent fee hike. Even though the message for the meeting --- to explain the rationale for the fee and elaborate on one of the worst financial crisis varsity had been going through ---- was sent only in the morning, the varsity auditorium was packed to capacity when the meeting started at 2.30pm.
After the V-C’s address that lasted 45 minutes, the meeting took on a different tenor as the scholars peppered him with questions.
Students clapped as a member of the Students for Society (SFS) asked put this question before the V-C, “Instead of fee hike, why can’t the varsity decrease the salaries of teachers.”
The V-C responded, “Some of you were likely to be part of university faculty. How will it feel, if you were paid Rs 10,000, like at some of the private institutions.”
The V-C was also asked, “There is a scheme to allow poor students to work part-time. Why should we make a poor student work, while a rich student is allowed to focus on studies as he can afford the fee?.”
The V-C retorted, “A meritorious student is always motivated. I also come from poor parents. Do not tell me this.”
The students were also told that there was no hike in fee for doctoral students.
The meeting finally was ended abruptly after the V-C’s response to a girl student’s question, where he reportedly said he could not grant education as a right and a basic amenity at the varsity.
At this, some students raised slogans against the varsity and the meeting broke-up with the V-C leaving the hall.
In his address, professor said the fee hike decision had been taken with a lot of thought and compassion. He added that there was no hike in tuition fee for six years, except a nominal increase in 2013-14. “We need to generate Rs 10 crore more (from tuition fee) to entice the Centre and Punjab government to pay us more,” he said.
“We are not privileged like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) where a number of students get scholarships,” he said.
He added that under the ‘Earn while you learn Scheme’, students could work at libraries and laboratories. “We could keep the library open for 24 hours. The maximum a student can earn is Rs 10,000 a month,” he said.
‘Punjab will help cash-strapped PU’
Chandigarh: The Congress government in the state has assured help to the varsity in financial crisis. “We will try and help them (Panjab University),” state finance minister Manpreet Badal said. However, any decision regarding providing financial support to the Panjab University will be taken after the government comes out with a white paper on the state’s finances, he said. “Every year Punjab gives Rs 20 crore to PU and this amount has been frozen,” he said, adding, “The PU V-C is right. The Punjab government should have provided more support,” he said.
Supposed to pay 40% of PU’s fiscal deficit
With PU in a financial mess, it has been getting Rs 20 crore per annum for the last several years after Punjab froze its share, despite it was supposed to bear 40% of the PU’s fiscal deficit that is projected at Rs 250 crore for 2017-18. PU has demanded 12% hike in allocation from state government to meet rising expenditure.