Marginalised students resume protest against TISS Guwahati over fee hike

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: January 21, 2019

They are staging this protest as there has been a continuous decline in SC, ST and OBC students’ enrolment in TISS due to unsustainable and expensive fee structure across the campus. The protestors also want TISS to be made inclusive, accessible and affordable to the poor and weaker sections of the society.


TISS Guwahati
 
Hatigaon: The protest by marginalised students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Guwahati entered the fourth day of the protest after ten months. The demonstration began outside TISS Boys Hostel, Hatigaon which is 18kms away from the main campus in Jalukbari. The Government of India Post Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS) Students’ Association in a press release stated that the protest was taken outside as they were not allowed to invite media persons inside the hostel. The demonstration included candlelight, monologues, sharing of experiences and placards and banners by the students.
 
Reserved category students at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Guwahati have resumed their protest against the college over the withdrawal of a fee waiver.
 
The students have not attended classes since Thursday and are demanding that the institute restore the full fee waiver under the Government of India – Post Matric Scholarship (GOI-PMS) scheme.
 
They also got support from students of the Mumbai campus of TISS as they wore badges with 'injustice' written on them to classes on Friday.
 
According to official figures, 62 students belonging to the reserved category had taken admission for the academic year 2018-19 after the administration assured them that the waiver will be considered
 
Taking cognizance of the protest, the administration sent two representatives to have a dialogue with the students. The students were told that the administration cannot help the students if the protest was taken outside the campus on grounds law and order situation in Guwahati. The administrative representatives promised a dialogue with all the students in an open space within the campus tomorrow, January 21 post 4 pm.
 
The GoI-PMS Students’ Association reiterated that the protest is indefinite and will be intensified with time adding that it will not be called off until the administration provides all students from the GoI-PMS category with the full fee waiver for 2018 batch and the batches to come.
 
It may be noted that the protest that lasted for 3 months against TISS last year by students from the institute to combat its plan to remove the fee waiver for the Government of India Scholarship students have reignited due to failure by the admin in reaching the demands of the students.
 
Last year, the students suspended their hunger strike on the third day after 22 days of protest as a notification from Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) asked them to discontinue their agitation such that a committee can be formed consisting of a member from the Union Grant Commission (UGC,) faculties from TISS and the students from different campuses.
 
The committee which included the administration brought about a report with assurances of mechanisms to support these students from marginalised backgrounds. From then, during the past 10 months, a group of students have been actively communicating with administration demanding that they follow up to their assurance and relieve the students from their burden of insecurity about their educational career.
 
“Most of the students who come here from the reserved category are not financially well-off. The college cannot suddenly after admission asks for the entire fee,” said Tikendra Rai Chelak, president of GoI-PMS Student's Association at TISS Guwahati, News18 reported.
 
General category students pay a tuition fee of nearly Rs 60,000 per semester. This includes Rs 30,000 every six months for hostel accommodation and dining. Before the college authorities withdrew the waiver, reserved category students had to pay Rs 4,500 as an upfront fee, but now they will have to pay 12,500 as an upfront fee, which includes instalment fees for the whole semester, the report said.
 
They are staging this protest as there has been a continuous decline in SC, ST and OBC students’ enrolment in TISS due to unsustainable and expensive fee structure across the campus. The protestors also want TISS to be made inclusive, accessible and affordable to the poor and weaker sections of the society.
 
They have said that the fee structure at TISS is exorbitant and it is systemic discrimination and denying of rights to higher education to the poor and weaker sections of society.