“The Very Spirit Of India’s Constitution Provides Equal Access To Education.”

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), being a top university of India, which has also given leaders like Nirmala Sitharaman, Abhijeet Banerjee, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, etc. Jawaharlal Nehru University recently came into the news due to the strike which is being held by the students of the university.

JNU, which is also a dream college for millions of students, is a place where children whose family’s income whether ₹10,000 or ₹10 lakh can study in an equal manner.

JNU, without a doubt, is an academic institute of eminence and excellence, one that needs to be supported in this difficult time. As we know, the current scenario of JNU has completely changed. Earlier, the fees for single occupancy in a hostel was ₹20 has now gone up to ₹600, and double occupancy has risen from ₹10 to ₹300.

According to a survey of JNU’s 2017-2018 annual report, out of 1556 students, 623 students come from a family whose monthly income is ₹12000, which equals to 40% of its total students. If they were not capable of paying the fees earlier, how is the government expecting them to pay fees which is 300 times higher?

At a time when the GDP of our country is going down, farmers are resorting to suicide, unemployment is at its peak, and there is no increase in the workforce’s salary, a sudden, exorbitant fee hike is really strange.

If government institutions will also become this expensive, then people from various backgrounds will not get access to education. Earlier, the JNU library used to remain open at all times, but according to the new manual, the library will be closed after 11 p.m. Isn’t this a violation of the students’ right to study and access of knowledge? The library is meant for study so why can’t students have access 24×7?

JNU students have every legal right to protest against the fee hike and the new hostel manual. People are giving baseless arguments like if JNU students can go watch movies and shopping, why can’t they pay ₹300? Let us not forget the fact that JNU also houses students whose families have struggled to afford one meal a day.

The question really is: why should education be commoditised and unaffordable in a country like India where the constitution guarantees the right to education as one of our Fundamental Rights? The spirit of the constitution is to enable people to have access to education.

If this fee hike comes into play, 43% of JNU students will have to stop studying as they will simply not be able to pay such a fee. The fee hike is something that is affecting all students of JNU and it is their legitimate, legal right to protest against it, especially as their VC is also unwilling to address the issue. Where is a student supposed to turn if the college administration itself refuses to listen to their problems?

The fee hike, in a way, is an attack on public education and is hugely problematic. The real issue is a why should a centrally funded educational institution run like a private business by asking the students to pay utility charges? The aim of such institutions is to make education available to one and all but by their act it seems like they don’t want students from villages or those who are economically disadvantaged to receive a good education.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below