Delhi University may introduce "means-based" fee waiver for scheduled caste/ scheduled tribe (SC/ST) students. The details of the proposal need to be worked out, says DU registrar Alka Sharma. The proposal will have to be either cleared by the Executive Council or introduced by the vice-chancellor using his emergency powers.
Delhi University SC/ST Teachers' Association had been asking the authorities to waive fees not just of SC/ST students but of all students from economically weaker sections. "They agreed in principal and said they would set up a committee to work out the processes," says Dhani Ram, president of the association.
One of the concerns regarding the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) was the added financial burden it would bring to students who already struggle to pay the bills. Along with tuition fee-waiver, there have also been public statements by university officials promising waiver of development fee by the colleges.
While this policy, if implemented, could impact thousands of DU students, not everyone is impressed. Hany Babu, a member of the English department and of advocacy group, Alliance for Social Justice, which connects students, teachers and administrative staff belonging to SC, ST, OBC and minorities communities in Delhi University and outside, sees this as another "sop".
"As far as I understand, this doesn't rest on the university alone. The colleges need to decide. This is part of the university's policy of allurement. If they were serious about this, they would've already done it for the three-year programme. I don't think it's feasible," he says.