In the era of fund cuts and fee hikes, here is a University which, due to the consistent efforts and pressure from the Left, has opted for fee cut and fund hike - the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in Kalady, Kerala!
The All Kerala Research Scholars' Association (the research scholars' wing of SFI - Students Federation of India in Kerala) had started an agitation in the Kalady University this week on a number of issues. The researchers were demanding, among others, that the fellowships given by the University to research scholars should be increased, that the tuition fees for course work should be reduced, and that the May 2016 UGC regulation which constitutes an attack on higher education should be rolled back.
The University's Syndicate which met today (Saturday, 21 January 2017) discussed the demands of the agitating research scholars, and fully accepted the demand for increasing the fellowships. The fellowship given to M.Phil. scholars has been increased from Rs. 2000 per month to Rs. 3000 per month. The fellowship given to Ph.D. scholars has been raised from Rs. 4000 to Rs. 10,000 (for first year and second year) and Rs. 12,000 (for the third year). This increase in Kalady University has come even as the non-JRF fellowship given to Ph.D. scholars in India's central universities today remain Rs. 8000. Also note that the UGC had tried to scrap even this fellowship in late 2015, and had backed down only after massive student anger which was reflected in the #OccupyUGC agitation.
The Kalady University's Syndicate also accepted the demand to reduce the fees for course work. The fees has been reduced from the current level of Rs. 2250 to Rs. 1500.
The Syndicate expressed the strong opinion that the May 2016 notification of the UGC is detrimental to academics. The Syndicate decided to examine the adverse impact on the fulfillment of reservation as a result of the implementation of the UGC regulation. It decided that the next Academic Council meeting shall make the requisite changes in the Ph.D. regulations to ensure that reservations are fulfilled while admissions take place.
Progressive decisions like these from the part of a University were made possible because of the powerful movement of students and research scholars led by the Left, and the strength of the Left within other sections of the University community, such as the faculty members and staff. Teachers and students have their representatives in the Syndicate, which is the Chief Executive body of the University. (Contrast the way the Kalady University Syndicate has responded to students' demands with the situation in central universities such as JNU where the Vice-Chancellors have been ruling in an utterly authoritarian fashion, trampling upon students' rights and making a mockery of all democratic fora that exist.)
Following the acceptance of the students' demands by the University today, the AKRSA extended its greetings to the
Left-led University Syndicate