With semester exams around the corner, student unions from several colleges under Delhi University have written to their respective institutions, requesting waiver of the exam fee for this particular semester. As the varsity is all set to hold open book examination through online mode, the students have requested to waive off the fee, even if not for all, but at least for those who are facing financial issues due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the years now, the university has been charging students separately for the exams in order to use the money to make necessary arrangements. But now, as the students are set to appear for exams through online mode due to Covid-19 restrictions, the question is being asked why Delhi University is charging students when they will be using their own resources for the examinations. The exam fee charged usually ranges between Rs 500 to Rs 1,300 depending on the course.
"We have written several letters to our administration especially regarding the collection of examination fees. Despite several meetings and letters, we were told that if we fail to pay for the exams, we will not be allowed to appear for them," Unnimaya, a third year student at Lady Shri Ram College and SFI convenor at the same colleged, told News18.
"This has created a lot of stress among students. The administration needs to realise that we students come from different spectrum of lives, not everyone can afford to pay whenever and whatever asked," she appealed.
The situation is no different in other Delhi University colleges. Aman, a History Honours student at Ramjas College, shared an instance of his batchmate who lost his father to Covid-19 recently and is now struggling to pay for his examination fees. "We had to arrange funds for two of our batchmates so they do not miss their exams,' he said.
While students are writing to their respective colleges demanding fee waiver, it is important to know that it is university that conducts examinations and collects the fees and not the colleges.
It is also to be noted here that when Delhi University decided to bring in the Open Book examination around June, some colleges allegedly collected examination fees, but the exams were never conducted, nor did the students get their refund.
Although, several colleges fall under the umbrella of the Delhi University, many colleges are directly under the University’s maintenance, some are funded by the Delhi government while some are partially taken care of by Trusts that promote it.
Not many people or students know about the divisions under Delhi University, hence they often get confused when different institutions apply different orders. Meanwhile, it’s a given that affording education is becoming tough, where education was supposed to be an amenity, it has become a liability," said Rajeev Kunwar, Assistant Professor of Hindi at Dayal Singh College.
"The Aishwarya Reddy suicide case is one of the most eminent examples of how the burden of affordability is crushing students. Today its exam fees, tomorrow it will be the whole curriculum or the course," he added.
Meanwhile, when News18 contacted Lady Shri Ram College’s student advisor Professor Jyotsna Arora, she said, "The institution is a part of the university, we are just following orders. We have tried to resolve and help students from our end. The students need to realise we are not their enemies, instead we are with them." Lady Shri Ram College’s Vice Principal Dr Sanjoy Roy Chowdhury refrained from commenting on the matter when asked.
News18 also tried contacting the Delhi University regarding the same, but there is no response yet.