The University of Mumbai (MU) has received severe flak yet again for hiking its examination fees from ₹660 to ₹1360 at the postgraduate level. The University is in poor lightlig yet again due to it’s policies. In 2017, the University introduced the On-Screen Marking (OSM) system that delayed results by four months while declaring many students ‘fail’, earning excessive revenue through re-evaluations and re-examinations.
The notice read:
“All the students are hereby informed that they should immediately submit the examination forms along with a fee of Rs. 1360/- in the office. Last date of submission is February 23.”
Throughout the years, the University has earned an ill repute for making money through studentsm that has become an important tradition for thea Mumbai University that students have become immune to acts of financial exploitation. Students of the University of Mumbai protested against the fee hike as it is a matter of great concern.
The university’s official circular has given a detailed explanation of what the University thinks is a reduction in fees. Since many years, the departments continued with a fee of Rs. 660 per semester and never ₹1500 indicating the complete failure to implement the policy uniformly at the departmental level. Now, departments have started increasing the fees arbitrarily that are not in tandem with the circular. While some departments charged Rs. 1500, others charged Rs. 900 while some charged Rs. 1650, to mention a few details.
Something highly unpleasant is that there is 73% reduction for one paper while a 10% reduction for three or more papers, when the institution and its departments are knowledgeable of the fact that every postgraduate student has a minimum of four papers per semester. Amidst the havoc, the administration has decided to increase the fees by 5% every year starting from 2019 stating that the institution gets no funds for examination related purposes from the state.
Apart from this, several academic and administrative hurdles continue to plague the students. When students raise questions, they are put off by saying, “You cannot demand an explanation, you can only ask for information!” The Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) has been loosely implemented, there is lack of coordination among departments, full-time professors were on leave during academic hours, and lectures were delayed by two months. There is a skewed student-professor ratio apart from the poor infrastructure of the University including hostel and library facilities.
There have been several instances where the university administration has tried to curb the space for dissent, labelling the student’s collectives as a ‘Department issue’. Students got unsatisfactory responses and despite the fact that they asked for an official pan-Department circular, it hasn’t been made available. After repeated attempts, the acting Vice-Chancellor has agreed to meet the students on March 5, 2018, at 12:00 pm at the MU Fort Campus.
Many feel that this is a deliberate attempt at excluding students from marginalised backgrounds with the University engaging in it’s divide and rule policy among departments so that the students do not question the status quo.
A student said, “It would have been less of a trouble if we were informed in advance about this fee hike. First of all our graduation results were delayed. And now that the admission deadline was postponed and this new fee structure has come in.”