Srinagar: Students of Kashmir University (KU) are aghast over what they term as “inconsiderate fee-structure” for their forthcoming exams.
A group of students Monday appeared here in Press Enclave to protest against the University, demanding that the authorities should consider giving them a concession in exam fee as well as admission fee. They said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial instability it has caused, they cannot afford to pay the fee as demanded by the University.
The call for protests was given by Kashmir University Students Union and Kashmir University Students Guild.
The protesting students, with placards in their hands, chanted slogans like ‘we demand justice’, we demand fee relaxation’ and ‘loot maar band karo’ (Stop the loot).
“Everyone knows that the pandemic has crushed our economy but we do not understand why our university does not understand our concerns,” said a female student, adding that “not everyone’s parents have regular or government jobs and many of us come from poor families.”
“We approached university administration as well for the redressal of our demands but they do not seem to care. Some of the officials referred us to the Vice-Chancellor but we were not allowed in to meet him,” said another student.
Citing University Grants Commission guidelines that all universities should be considerate while demanding fee from students, some protesting students who are enrolled on self-finance basis said that KU is forcing them to pay huge sums of around Rs 1 Lakh at a time as admission fee.
Meanwhile, many students held similar protests at the main campus of the University.
The students complained that the University has asked them to submit the examination fee within a span of three days. Even though the date has been extended now after some intervention, their demands have not been met in full.
“The pandemic has already put many of us in a financial crunch. How can a poor student afford this much fee? The authorities must reconsider this [fee] structure,” a student told Kashmir Bylines on phone.
Another student said that the University was “exploiting” them with its “anti-student” fee structure. Expecting that there are little chances of the University holding the exams offline and “online exams do not cost much,” he asked why the authorities cannot cut down the fee as they did in the previous exam held during the lockdown.
“They do not need to hire invigilators, neither would they incur any expenditure for transportation of material to and from the exam centres. We cannot understand what is the rationale behind this fee structure. Not all students would be able to pay,” said another student.
Meanwhile, some students complained that the authorities have directed them not to approach the different offices in the University and instead convey their grievances and queries over phone and mail, but the helpline numbers and mail IDs provided for the purpose do not respond to their satisfaction or do not respond at all.
The aggrieved students have appealed to the authorities to look into their grievances and end their worries.