Fee Relief, Proper Assessment, Job-Fellowship Opportunity to Students due to Corona crisis

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To,

Hon'ble Prime Minister of India

Hon'ble Minister, Human Resources Development, Govt. of India

Subject: Request for Granting Fee Relief, Appropriate Assessment, Job-fellowship Opportunities to Students due to the COVID-19 Crisis

Respected Sirs

1. We, the students of National Educational Institutions, write to you to seek appropriate relief for the mental, educational and economic stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and extended lockdowns. The cataclysmic damage caused to the various sectors of Indian Economy are unprecedented. At the micro level, this has hit the financial condition of many households, especially the poor, across the country. In this scenario, many parents/guardians find it difficult to pay the fees for the next semester. Further, due to the premature closure of most of the campuses caused by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, a major portion of fees already paid for the summer semester (Feb-May) remain unutilised.

2. We are conscious of the Institutions’ liability to remunerate the teaching/non-teaching staff and incur other fixed expenditure which, notwithstanding the closure of campus, are to be borne. Further, the teachers have conducted classes and internal assessment for the semester through various online mediums. Hence, we assert that our request for the relief(s) is without prejudice to the portion of fees which are being spent by the Institutions on salary remuneration to teaching/non-teaching staff.

3. Certain constituents/particulars of fees including Mess Fees, Health Centre Fees, Gym facility Fees, Campus Development Fund, Laboratory fees, etc. remain unutilized due to the cutting short of summer semester. Not only this, the Institution will not be incurring expenditure (as in a normal semester) which is charged under a category of fees including internet, electricity, water, commodities and other utilities. All these fees accrued and remaining underutilised by the Institution for the Summer Semester (Feb-May 2020) should be duly accounted by an ex-ante and ex-post comparison for the period. It is requested that based on the balance amount (hereinafter, ‘Balance’), a proportionate relief be granted to the students. Another area that needs consideration is the routine hiking of fees every academic year. It would help relieve the burden on the parents if the Institutions decide not to increase the fees during the immediate upcoming session.

4. In order to ease out the economic burden on the students and their parents/guardian, we request you to grant us the following relief(s):

  • Exemption of Annual Increase in Fees for the next academic session; and
  • Rebate in Late Fees (if any) applicable on payment of fees; and
  • Adjustment of the Balance (‘Fees’ including but not limited to Amenities Fee, Mess Fee, Campus Development Fund, portion of Hostel Rent, and such other fee which remain unutilised) by appropriate monetary relief in next semester fees; and
  • Appropriate Relief in Fee submission (by a waiver/ appropriate deduction/any other means) be granted, on case-to-case basis, to students whose families are affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Further, we recommend the National Educational Institutions to limit non-essential expenditure (if any) in the coming days. Additional modes of revenue generation such as starting MOOCs, Online Certificate/Credit/Diploma Courses and other economic activities can be explored to ease the economic stress, if any, to the Institutions.

6. An important issue that is causing severe stress amongst the student community is the question of conducting examination and awarding of degrees. While a few Institutions have prescribed certain methods of evaluation, many other Institutions are yet to take any final decision in this regard. The career of entire student fraternity of national institutions is to be impacted due to the high stakes involved in this process, ranging from promotion, conferment of degrees, eligibility for competitive examinations, higher studies to job prospects. Any undue delay is thus adding to the troubles of the students.

7. While, it is desirable that an appropriate decision be taken expeditiously, simultaneously what needs to be seen is that students are located in different parts of India and one approach might not suit all (due to issues like connectivity, access to technology, resources, socio-economic conditions, etc). Students should be given a say in the decision-making process and be consulted in order to ameliorate their concerns before a final decision, in this regard, is arrived at. Hence, we sincerely request that an Appropriate Method of Assessment/Evaluation be decided by the Administration in consultation with the students of the respective institutions.

8. Furthermore, due to the COVID-19 crisis and its subsequent impact, many students who were slated to earn their degrees and had bagged PPOs/Job Offers/other employment opportunities have been worse hit. We request that those students who have lost these opportunities be granted adequate relief by taking measures including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Launching and promoting Fellowship/Research/Start-up/Incubation Opportunities within the institution for a specified period; and
  • Restarting and facilitating Fresh Placement Process for providing opportunity to those aggrieved, once normalcy is restored.

9. In light of the aforesaid, we request you to understand the plight of students and their families, and give the issue and relief(s) a serious consideration. We understand that you will take an appropriate decision in the best interest of all the students, guided by reason, prudence and compassion. We sincerely expect an optimistic response in this regard.

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,
Students of National Educational Institutions

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Gaurav Sundaram (Student, Indian Institute of Technology-Patna)

Pratik Suthar (Student, National Institute of Technology-Surat)

Omm Priyadarshi (Student, National Institute of Technology-Rourkela)

Aditya Kashyap (Student, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law-Punjab)

Contact us at: adityak.office@gmail.com / +91-7903148321