The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) on Tuesday, July 28, mailed the students the details of the fee structure for the academic year 2020-2021 without reducing the fees, despite repeated requests from the students. The institution not only refused to change the fee even for just the current semester, but, just before issuing the notice, a Social Media Policy was mailed to the students by the institution, which made it clear that students who protested about the institute’s refusal to decrease the fees or talked about it on social media will be debarred from the exams.
The Social Media Policy states, “Any content maligning NIFT, its policies and employees will be viewed adversely inviting disciplinary action and inter alia, penalties, debarment from sitting examination, campus placements etc.”
NewsClick talked to students from various campuses of NIFT, and all of them made it clear that the students have been scared of speaking up about the issue as the institute has threatened disciplinary action. A student of Fashion Technology from NIFT Kangra told NewsClick, “The college issued the social media policy a few days before sending us the fee notice. It restricts us from raising our issues or talking about anything that would spoil the image of the college on social media. Hence, the students are scared of talking about this issue.” She added, “This social media policy came after we protested against the institute for taking our exams during the pandemic. The syllabus had not been completed, we had to learn stitching from YouTube.”
A Bachelor of Design student from NIFT Kolkata said, “NIFT is charging full fees for this semester. The fees at NIFT is anyway very high, but that is understandable because we use the labs, the machinery, the library, and other college infrastructure. Our course is mostly practical and we make full use of these infrastructures.”
“However, right now, we are using nothing. Despite requesting through mails earlier, they did not understand any of our requests and problems with the fees and the online examinations,” she added.
The student said that the institute did not make any changes to the course even after the lockdown started. The syllabus remained the same. She said, “The Fashion Design department had been asked to make a collection for the jury using their sarees and bedsheets. The institute does not care and pay any attention to our problems. Due to this uncertainty, so many students are going through major mental health issues, including myself. We feel very helpless because they are not ready to listen to us.”
Also read: NSUT Students Launch Online Petition Against Fee Hike
The Social Media Policy added, “Think twice about how you post content if you’re feeling angry about something and consider the effect that this might have on the situation.”
A fourth-year student of Fashion Communication told NewsClick, “We paid the complete fees for the previous semester too, but could attend college for only two months because of the pandemic. That fee was non-refundable. For this semester, they are charging library fees, medical insurance, everything. They have not yet mentioned whether we will have to pay the hostel fees or not, but they have not said anywhere that we won’t have to. This would have been fine if the fee was reasonable, but it is not.”
The student added, “The institute does not care about the mental and financial well-being of the students, they only care about their reputation.”
The students of NIFT Delhi also received a message, which advised them to not enter any groups or ‘chatrooms’ to discuss fee protest. It said, “It’s been kindly advised from our CAC to refrain from entering groups and Telegram chatrooms (for the discussion of Fee Protest). It’s also been advised that the students with genuine issues please write individual mails to the director and CAC respectively (strictly not copied mails). Management will try their utmost best to help in whatsoever way they can.”
The students were also informed by a notice that the last date for depositing the fee for the academic session July-December 2020 is September 7, 2020, and fee can be deposited after that with a late fine of Rs 100 per day until September 18. The last date for depositing fees for the academic session January to June 2021 is February 8, and it can be deposited with late fine up to February 19. The notice said, “The name of the student will be struck from the institute rolls without any further notice in case of non-payment of fee after specified date.”
Also read: Students Protest Across West Bengal Demanding Fee Waiver
NIFT Social Media 13-7-2020(1) by Newsclick on Scribd