Mumbai: Over 1,500 students of the four Tata Institute of Social Sciences branches in the country have boycotted lectures and practical and field work. They are protesting against the fund squeeze for students belonging to socially backward classes.
These students have not received funds from the state and the central government, which has strapped their ability to pay hostel, food and other charges, apart from tuition fees. Around 600 students of TISS Mumbai campus staged a protest, shouting slogans and boycott classes to press for their demand for adequate funding. Their main grouse is that that they have not received the Point of Matric Scholarship, which is reserved for students of Scheduled Class (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).
Result: students belonging to marginalised sections are finding it difficult to sustain and pay high-end fees; they were entirely dependent on the government scholarship. Archana Soreng, President of Students’ Union of TISS, said, “We cannot pay the high-end fees, especially those among us who are from the marginalised sections and have a weak financial background. Funding from the University Grants Commission keeps these students going.’’
Students have been complaining of lack of funding at several well-known research institutes. A student of TISS said, “We have not been receiving funds for a long time. Slowly, the government is withdrawing from funding the education sector and we are not able to conduct even basic field work. We are into social work and we need funding for our ground level projects. And now the government is not even concerned about students from the weaker sections of the society.” The administration of TISS has asked the protesting students to send a delegation within 24 hours to discuss the issue.