What do you see in front of your eyes when you think of IIT? Umm lemme guess… Great institute, great opportunities, great career, great everything basically! And let me tell you, you are not the only one having these ideas about IIT. For nearly all students and even parents, IIT looks like paradise from the outside. But to know the real nature of this “paradise” we need to know the facts from inside IIT.
IIT has always been in news for its great results. But it also faces problems like increasing number of suicides committed by its students, drugs, unbearable stress, etc.
Recently, IIT-B (IIT Bombay) made it to the headlines again. Around 150 students from IIT-B started a relay hunger strike on July 2nd to protest against the unreasonable and unjust fee hike announced by the management in the month of May this year. The hostel rent of the students has gone up by 300%!!! It has risen to Rs. 2000 from Rs. 500, per semester. Even the mess fee has gone up to Rs. 20,000 from Rs. 15,000. There is 167% hike in the gymkhana fee. There is 100% hike in examination fee, registration and even medical fees. Already a few years ago, the tuition fees for undergraduates was almost doubled across the IITs.
The agitation began with a march on the campus. They had been boycotting classes from the last week of June as mark of protest. Since the fee hike has been announced, 2 strikes have taken place on the IIT-B campus. For nearly two months, the students at IIT-B had been coming together and fighting the management to rollback fee hike. During the protest students held placards that read, ‘No more FEE HIKE, we demand our basic rights!’, ‘We demand right to prevail, education is not for sale’, ‘Dear IIT, roll-back fee hike’. The students are not only demanding rollback of fee hike but also representation in the decision making policy. Students of IIT-B have expressed their discontent regarding the failure of the management to provide student representation in the making of policies that affect the students. Similar strikes have taken place at IIT- Kharagpur, IIT- Madras and IIT- Indore in the last 5 years.
All these facts raise questions like, is quality education a right of only the rich? If not, then how will students from different economic background keep up with the increasing fees at IIT? Also why are the students left out of the making of such important decisions?
The increasing struggles of students across IITs is a proof that students are not going to stay silent against any injustice done to them. The struggle of students at IIT-B should inspire students across the country where such steep fee hikes are taking place. Students need to get united, come ahead and raise their voice. These attacks won’t stop otherwise.