Thursday, December 3, 2020
Home Opinions There is no 'fee hike' in JNU: While free education may be a right,...

There is no ‘fee hike’ in JNU: While free education may be a right, free accommodation is certainly not

There has been no fee hike at JNU at all. None whatsoever. Going to JNU remains free. Many if not most students actually receive a stipend for studying at JNU! Then, what is the ruckus about?

For almost a week now, the nation has been transfixed at the spectacle of JNU students doing what they are best known for. Taking to the streets and protesting. This time the trigger for protests is a hike in fees at JNU. The students claim that the increased fees put a quality JNU education out of their reach.

Well, at least the students are protesting about something that actually touches their daily lives, instead of imaginary enemies such as “US imperialism” or something in Gaza. A significant improvement, I would say.

The JNU protests have resulted in a predictable war of narratives on both mainstream and social media. The (mostly) left-wing students at JNU say all they want is affordable education. They say affordable education is a moral imperative in India, given our widespread poverty. They also point out that affordable education is an important investment in the future of our country. In their support, they remind us that higher education is free in a number of highly developed countries across the world, such as Germany or Finland or Sweden and how much good it has done to them.

Read: IIT Bombay students protest against desecration of Swami Vivekananda’s statue by JNU students

The other side, consisting mostly of right-wing sympathizers, has struck back. They ask why JNU should be subsidized in the first place, especially given the reputation their student body has come to acquire. As taxpayers, they want to know whether the research at JNU is relevant and how it brings returns to our country. Research from JNU on the cultural background of fictional porn character Savitha Bhabhi, whether these were exceptions or not, does not help their cause in the public eye.

Sadly, the most important distinction has been lost in this fiery debate over JNU.

There has been no fee hike at JNU at all. None whatsoever.

Going to JNU remains free. Many if not most students actually receive a stipend for studying at JNU!

Then, what is the ruckus about? What are the JNU protests about?

Well, JNU has hiked hostel fees. Service charges and establishment charges for students to stay in their hostels.

Read: ‘Azadi’ slogans make a comeback as JNU protestors march towards parliament

Why is this being mixed up with the issues of free education? Now, go back to all those developed nations that provide free higher education. Does any of them provide free food and free accommodation for students? Of course not.

I can understand the demand for free higher education. But free board and lodging? Really? And why?

Even primary schools in India, or for that matter anywhere else, do not provide free accommodation. How can the JNU student body, consisting mostly of grown-up postgraduate students, possibly expect a free ride when it comes to board and lodging?

A simple Google search brought me to this BBC article on higher education in Germany.

Untitled.png

In Germany, housing can be so expensive that students groups are now building box-like basic rooms out of cheap material for students to live in.

Indeed, it is not easy being in higher education for an extended period. That is essentially the promise of higher education everywhere in the world. Early on in life, you spend some years living in hardship. At the end of it, you earn a degree that becomes your ticket to social mobility.

Why are so many JNU students involved in the protests pretending their lives should be any different? If the hostel seems too pricey, move out. Get a part-time job to pay the bills. Other students are doing this all across the world. In doing so, students are actually learning valuable life skills: how to manage finances and navigate the real world. When they step out of school, this money and people management skills will stand them in good stead.

Read: Other premier and second-tier institutions charge students upto 20 times more than proposed JNU fees now: Report

Higher education is not an extended childhood. There is nothing wrong with expecting grown-up students to find their own room and board. There is no shame in getting your own groceries, cooking your own food and sweeping your own floors. You would think that left-wing inclined JNU students would accept this premise. Actually, why would you? Nobody loves social classes as much as comrades do…

This is also a win-win from the point of view of standards in higher education. Instead of investing huge resources building, maintaining and administering free hostels, JNU can spend all that money where it really matters. They can spend on providing tools for high-quality research, attracting high-quality scholars, buying scientific and technical equipment.

Isn’t that what students want as well? Isn’t that what the country needs?

Read: ‘F*ck BJP’, ‘Bhagwa jalega’: JNU goons vandalised soon to be inaugurated a statue of Swami Vivekananda on campus

Sensible students at JNU need to realize that this is neither punishment nor persecution. This is, in fact, a chance to grow up and learn skills they will need for their life outside of college. The education is free. They can leave campus, earn their own money and manage their own room and board.

Some of the anger from students is also about new codes of dress, restrictions on visitors and so-called curfew timings. The resentment is not surprising, considering that these students are all adults. But, if you expect the university to be a nanny, expect to be treated like a child. Rules for dressing up, rules for going out, rules for coming in and rules for bedtime. It sucks. That’s why JNU students should embrace their adult lives, with both rights and responsibilities that come with it.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Abhishek Banerjeehttps://dynastycrooks.wordpress.com/
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

Related Articles

Trending now

Darshan Pal, the coordinator of the farmer protests, was a founding member of Maoist organisation PDFI. Read details

Darshan Pal, who demanded special parliament session to repeal farm laws, was convenor of 51-member executive committee of Maoist group PDFI

Even pandering doesn’t get India Today a free pass: Here is why ‘liberals’ are today cancelling Rajdeep and Rahul Kanwal

'Liberals' are cancelling India Today, Rajdeep Sardesai and Rahul Kanwal over their coverage of the allegations against Shehla Rashid

Raut gives bizarre analogy trying to defend party after Azan row: Here are 4 things that he could have meant

Sanjay Raut came up with an absurd analogy in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana to ward off criticism over azaan recitation competition

The return of ‘Award Wapsi’: As farmers protest continue, former Punjab sportspersons want to return awards

Punjab sportspersons have claimed that they will go to Delhi on 5th December and put their awards outside Rashtrapati Bhavan

Indonesian radical Muslims change words of Azan from ‘hurry to the prayer’ to ‘rise up for Jihad’: Here is what happened

A verse of the chant, which originally means “hurry to the prayer”, has been changed to “hayya alal jihad”, or “rise up for jihad” in Azan

Kangana Ranaut served legal notice for mistaking an elderly woman in farmer protests for Bilkis Bano of Shaheen Bagh

Kangana Ranaut had commented on Twitter that the Shaheen Bagh Dadi was available on hire for appearing in protests. She had deleted her tweet later.

Recently Popular

Indian man proposes to his Australian girlfriend during Ind vs Aus cricket match, here is what happened next

While India's performance has been below par, netizens found happiness in the unusual proposal that became the highlight of the match.

Yogi snubs Trudeau, deputes bureaucrats to welcome the Canadian PM

The Canadian PM seems to be getting differential treatment

Indian Idol contestant reveals how she faced opposition from conservative Muslim society as singing is ‘not allowed’

The Indian Idol contestant revealed how women in her society are looked down upon if they try to excel in any field.

Ex-Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s father Yograj Singh joins Farmer’s protests, justifies “Indira thok di” comment

Multiple videos of Yograj Singh, Yuvraj Singh's father, have gone viral on social media where he has been giving provocative speeches amid the ongoing farmer protests

Shiv Sena to organise Azaan recitation competition, party leader calls it as important as ‘Maha Aarti’

Shiv Sena is to bear the cost of the event and will also reward the contest winners.

Instead of answering allegations, Shehla Rashid decides to run away from a live show, calls her father ‘greedy’

Shehla Rashid, JNU student leader, has been accused by her biological father Abdul Rashid Shora, of taking Rs 3 crore from terror funding accused Zahoor Vatali and Rashid Engineer.

Darshan Pal, the coordinator of the farmer protests, was a founding member of Maoist organisation PDFI. Read details

Darshan Pal, who demanded special parliament session to repeal farm laws, was convenor of 51-member executive committee of Maoist group PDFI

Govt of India orders Wikipedia to remove an image showing wrong map of Jammu and Kashmir

This matter was flagged by a Twitter user asking government to take action against Wikipedia for displaying a wrong map of India

‘Jinnah did everything that is banned in Islam’: Images of alcoholic drink ‘Ginnah’ named after Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah go viral

A photo of a gin bottle 'Ginnah', eponymously named after Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, has gone viral on social media websites

Even pandering doesn’t get India Today a free pass: Here is why ‘liberals’ are today cancelling Rajdeep and Rahul Kanwal

'Liberals' are cancelling India Today, Rajdeep Sardesai and Rahul Kanwal over their coverage of the allegations against Shehla Rashid

Pro-AAP blogger Dhruv Rathee wants foreign interference in country’s internal matters to offer Indians a solution

Dhruv Rathee claimed that India’s institutions have already been hijacked and have become puppets at the hands of Modi government

Captain Amarinder Singh hits out at Arvind Kejriwal, Kejriwal hits back but ends up making no sense: Read what happened

Arvind Kejriwal accused Amarinder SIngh of playing 'low level politics', after Singh slammed him for notiyig a farm law they are opposing

Yogi Adityanath responds to Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, busts claim about UP wanting to take film city away from Maharashtra

CM Yogi had announced that country's biggest Film City would be established at Gautam Buddh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.

Raut gives bizarre analogy trying to defend party after Azan row: Here are 4 things that he could have meant

Sanjay Raut came up with an absurd analogy in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana to ward off criticism over azaan recitation competition

Zombie Mink: Hundreds of mink carcasses emerge from the burial trenches in Denmark after mass-culling exercise

Dubbed as Zombie mink, the farm mink that were culled to prevent Covid-19 outbreak have 'emerged from their graves' in Denmark.

The return of ‘Award Wapsi’: As farmers protest continue, former Punjab sportspersons want to return awards

Punjab sportspersons have claimed that they will go to Delhi on 5th December and put their awards outside Rashtrapati Bhavan

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
492,264FollowersFollow
20,300SubscribersSubscribe