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Home News Reports Are the JNU protests over fee-hike justified? Here's what the data says

Are the JNU protests over fee-hike justified? Here’s what the data says

When the data is compared with the ridiculously low fees that are charged from students at the university, it becomes obvious that the output does not justify the investment. As Anurag Singh says, "JNU is a perfect example of bad socialism. If you give something for free, people have no incentive to work and earn."

The perennial protests in JNU held the city hostage as they marched on the streets demanding a roll-back of the supposed fee-hike. They violated section 144 that was imposed in and around the university and the Police had to detain ‘students’ and lathi-charge the protesters to break off the crowd.

Under such circumstances, numerous debates have erupted on social media on whether the protests held and demands made by the JNU protesters are legitimate. Anurag Singh, an alumnus of IIM-Lucknow and a value investor, recently posted a tweet thread on the social media platform where he elaborated on the fee structure of the JNU and analyzed whether the protests were justified on the basis of data available in the annual report of 2018.

The investment made in JNU

There are nearly 8000 students at JNU, the majority of which are in social sciences. Anurag Singh further pointed out that almost 55% of the students were pursuing an M.Phil or a PhD degree. Furthermore, the income of the University was Rs. 383.62 crore while its expenditure was Rs. 556.14 crore. Thus, if one counts only the government aid/subsidies that the university receives, each student consumes about Rs. 4.40 lakh every year.

As Singh says in is an article for SwarajyaMag, “At any campus across the world, the strength of students declines as we move from undergraduate courses to postgraduate, and there are very few who pursue doctorate-level courses. This is also driven by financial compulsions as people need to get back to the earning workforce fast and get on to a career track.”

The Quality and Quantity of Academic Content

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The academic content and research don’t appear to speak very highly of the university either. With over 4,000 students pursuing M.Phil or PhD degrees, just over 1,000 research articles were published in journals in the academic year 2017-18. Also, the ‘students’ attended nearly 2000 international conferences during the academic year and yet, there’s no evidence that anything good ever came of it.

As Singh says, “This implies that there is just one “article” published for every 4.5 students each year. This, when there are 600-plus Ph.D.s granted annually. Would you consider this any worthwhile research work?” He also says that for all the investment, JNU has been able to produce only four people with patents to their credit. Furthermore, there does not appear to be any student with a patent to his credit.

Is the fee hike justified?

When the data is compared with the ridiculously low fees that are charged from students at the university, it becomes obvious that the output does not justify the investment. As Anurag Singh says, “JNU is a perfect example of bad socialism. If you give something for free, people have no incentive to work and earn.”

He states in his article for SwarajyaMag that “they pay a generous Rs 6 for library and Rs 40 as a refundable security deposit. How a university was allowed to run with this fee structure and without any hike for decades is itself a research paper in the making. Of-course, nobody at JNU would have time to research on this. IIT Delhi, which is located close by, charges about Rs 2.25-odd lakh annually and IIMs charge about Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per year. We don’t see any strikes at those places. Students know they need to jump into the job market, start their earning life and also repay the student loan that they carry. JNU is free of any such thoughts or troubles. Probably, the reason why students have much time left to create new troubles of their own.”

Meanwhile, the ‘intellectual’ class continues to fawn over the perennial protesters. Ravish Kumar even went ahead to assert that students in the Hindi heartland should emulate the conduct of JNU ‘students’. There appears to be very little willingness to address the elephant in the room here, which is, the lack of output compared to the massive investment.

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