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IIEST chief for fee waiver

The director wrote to the ministry after the students’ senate requested him to waive fees citing the pandemic
Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST)
Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST)
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Subhankar Chowdhury   |   Howrah   |   Published 07.11.20, 02:36 AM

The IIEST director has appealed to the education ministry for a waiver of tuition fee for some students who have written to the Shibpur institute that they are in no position to pay because of the Covid pandemic.

Parthasarathi Chakrabarti, the director of the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), wrote to the ministry last month after the students’ senate had requested him to waive fees because earnings have taken a hit during the pandemic.

“Since the ministry fixes the tuition fees, the appeal (for waiver) has been made to the ministry,” director Parthasarathi Chakrabarti said. The institute's board of governors, he said, asked him to write to the ministry.

The education ministry fixes the tuition fees of the institutes under the NIT council. The IIEST is part of the council.

The annual tuition fee at the IIEST is Rs 1,25,000, excluding the annual hostel and mess charge of Rs 50,000.

A member of the students’ senate said parents of several students ran small businesses and they were among the worst-hit by the pandemic. Many salaried employees are no better.

Another member of the students’ senate said that since classes were being held online, students should not have to pay as much. “We are paying a steep charge for the internet for attending online classes from home. I guess the course fee was decided keeping in mind on-campus engagements,” he said.

An IIEST official said director Chakrabarti had mentioned in the letter that the institute had in August decided that students need not pay Rs 17,500 as mess advance, Rs 3,000 as mess entrance fee, Rs 1,000 as seat rent and Rs 800 as electricity and water charges for the autumn semester that started on August 24.

The institute has also decided to waive the activities fee of Rs 500 and bring down the infrastructure fee to Rs 1,000 from Rs 2,500 for this semester.

“But the tuition fee does not come under our preview,” said Chakrabarti.

An IIEST teacher said the director’s letter spoke volume about the crisis students were facing.

“During the pandemic, the institute has been receiving waiver requests from all categories of students. Even students whose annual family income is above Rs 5 lakh are seeking waiver,” he said.

The institute grants full waiver of the tuition fee to students whose annual family income is less than Rs 1 lakh. If the income ranges between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, he/she is required to pay half the amount.

Another teacher said students are worried over the grim job situation. “They must have got jittery after knowing that a multinational company had in May withdrawn its job offer to three engi-neering students citing business decisions because of the economic downslide,’’ he said.

Director Chakrabarti said they were raising a consoli-dated fund with the help of contribution from the alumni so that some support could be extended to students in distress.

“But a consolidated fund can never be enough to bear the burden of the waiver of tuition fees for a section of students,” said an official of the institute. “Students can get relief only if the ministry considers the appeal for the waiver.”

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