Some colleges affiliated to SPPU have not given clearance to final-year students to sit for annual exams due to pending fees. With parents facing financial strain to cover their kids’ college expense due to the Covid situation, what steps should the state, local and college authorities take to ensure that educational pursuits of students are not affected.
Reduce education fees
The Covid pandemic has affected all sectors financially. Colleges and universities are taking unnecessary fees like development fees, library fees, parking fees, etc. The administration should take steps to do away with unnecessary expenses. Nagpur university has already cut down expenses in their fees on these grounds and other varsities should follow this example. If the educational institutes are not taking steps to ease the fee expenses then the government must intervene.
Colleges should not bar students from exams
Students from all over the state come to Pune for higher education. With colleges closed due to the Covid situation, hostels and other rooms are mostly vacant as students have returned to hometown. Even as these expenses have been excluded, students and their parents have to pay for laptops, Wi-Fi or high-speed internet connection at homes, and college fees. With many parents facing financial crisis in the pandemic, colleges should definitely give fee concession. Only tuition fees should be charged and other amenities like campus maintenance, libraries, laboratories should be waived off. It is the only justifiable way to move forward. Blocking of students from examination over fee dues indicates the blatant arrogance of institutions.
Waive fees for EWS students
The opportunities for employment have shrunk because of the Covid-induced financial crisis. Though colleges were closed, students had to pay for the new electronic/digital devices and the internet. In such a scenario, collecting overall fees from students is wrong. If practical lessons are not taken then why students should pay for laboratories? Also, the additional fees such as gyms, recreational centres should be waived off. Exams are being conducted online now. So, examination fees also can be reduced. Considering all these points, the overall fee for the semester could be reduced at least 40%. The entire fee of students who are from the economically weaker section (EWS) should be waived off. This facility should continue for upcoming years as well because it will take time to recover from the losses caused by Covid.
Amir Kasim Pathan
Do not deny right to education
The nation has witnessed the horrors of Covid for the last one and a half years. Many of our brothers and sisters have lost their parents and dear ones. Uncountable people have lost their livelihood. In this hour of the grave, it will be inhuman to deny them their right to education just for lack of monetary capacity. It is the right time to understand that education is a right that everyone should get without any discrimination and not a luxurious commodity to be bought by the rich only. Government, Institutions, UGC, and all parties concerned should come to the table to safeguard the future of youth. This is the least we can do for our young citizens.
Authorities should support students
Every sector has been impacted because of the Covid. It has caused severe social and financial crisis for the informal sector such as farmers and labourers. Students like me, who come from such families cannot afford to pay fees. The financial condition of the families has collapsed. If more than one student is in the family then it is adding to the worry. So, a certain relief must be given to students from weaker economic background. In these uncertain times, everyone has the right to complete their education. We were somehow managing to pay the college fees regularly until now. But the situation has worsened after the second wave. Institutions, colleges, universities and the government should adopt a sensitive approach in these difficult times.
Balaji Narwate, student
Centre, state should allocate funds, fellowships
The Covid-19 isn’t just a health crisis. It has weakened our economy and unsettled our education system. It has exposed our education model. And therefore, there is a growing need to modify our education system. New techniques in the field may help us to reduce fees and mental pressure. Many girl students discontinued their education owing to a streak of lockdowns and economic hardships. Countless students find it difficult to pay college fees. And hence, I urge the universities to revise their fee structure. Apart from tuition and exam fees, the other fees should immediately be dropped, so that students can continue their studies. The Centre and state governments should rigorously monitor the situation and allocate funds and fellowships.