Ambedkar University, that had been allowing full fee waivers, for students belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons With Disability (PWD) categories, has decided to scrap the waiver. Instead of this practice that had been going for years, fee waivers will now be provided to the students from families whose gross annual income is less than 3 lakhs per annum.
A 22-year-old SC student, when clicked on the registration portal to pay her fees for this year, it showed full payment. She told Indian Express, “whose name had appeared in the provisional admission list for MBA, saw her registration portal was showing full fee payment of Rs 1.18 lakh. “As my elder sister is doing her PhD from AUD, we knew about the fee waiver. She called the varsity and they verbally told us there had been a change in the rules and the exemption has been done away with…We searched the Admission Brochure but it was not mentioned. My sister wrote to several authorities asking for clarification, but they did not give any clarity. Since we couldn’t afford the fee, the deadline passed and I couldn’t pay,”.
As thousands discussed this revocation of waiver, it came to light again how National Law School of India, Bangalore, the most premier law university in India, also stopped giving reservations for students belonging to the OBC community long back. In 2018, even TISS had withdrawn financial aid given to scholars from the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribe ST), and OBC (Other Backward Classes) communities, who are eligible for the Government of India – Post Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS).
The question that arises is this: If public universities continue to take measures and adopt policies that scream inaccessibility, what’s to stop the private universities? What message that does give about an education system that doesn’t want to make education inclusive for the minorities of the country? What is to say education will not be privatised tomorrow?
With each passing day, with each new policy, education becomes a privilege. And if a university that has Ambedkar in its name withdraws waivers for the marginalised, it’s the sorriest reality of today.
National Law School Bangalore has reserved ZERO seats for OBCs. How is this justified? If this college was instituted under state law, should the state law on reservations not apply to it? pic.twitter.com/Ce6qUkYsFg
— Tejas Harad (@h_tejas) September 4, 2020
What's the point of public universities if their courses cost so much? Why are they public universities if they are not interested in affirmative action? https://t.co/NSJ3XhEDXO
— Jaai V (@Jaai1234) September 4, 2020
The legal field itself is quite exclusionary. From getting enrolled to sitting for AIBE (total cost of both is upto 20k) to being paid peanuts in litigation; these are all certifiable methods to ensure the legal pool is limited to those who are privileged enough to afford it. https://t.co/EVkXaRBppg
— Radhika Roy (@royradhika7) September 4, 2020
Full fee waiver @AUD_Delhi has made it possible for Dalit women and other marginalized sections i.e. ST and PwD to be represented in higher ed., including me. I am a first generation Dalit Scholar from my family to reach this pedestal.
— Preeti 🌻 (@preetikoli44) September 4, 2020