Hyderabad: Education minister to talk to OU vice chancellor over fee hike


Hyderabad: Osmania University (OU) students on Monday continued their campaign against the hike in PhD free by presenting a request letter to Telangana education minister Sabitha Indra Reddy.

Nelli Satya, a political science research scholar, told Siasat.com that the Minister had promised that she will speak to the OU vice-chancellor, Professor D Ravinder on Tuesday and resolve the issue.

OU students are up in arms against the varsity’s administration ever since it increased the fee for PhD courses by ten times on March 16.

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VC Prof. D Ravinder, speaking to Siasat.com said in case the minister asks for an explanation regarding the fee hike, he will convey to her that it was a decision taken after thorough consideration by the Standing Committee that consisting of 12 Deans from OU.

In a notification issued by the Dean Faculties of various departments, the fee particulars for students who were allotted seats under Category – 2 PhD courses for the academic year 2022, in Social Sciences, Arts, Education, Commerce, Management, and Oriental Languages was set at Rs 20,000 and for Engineering, Science, Technology, and Pharmacy departments it presents at Rs 25,000.

A press release by OU student union members on March 21, said that the fee for PhD courses in Social Sciences and other departments was Rs 2000 until last year and for Engineering and other courses it was Rs 2500.

“There are many factors that led to this fee hike beside the fact that this is the first time the PhD course fee structure was revised since 2003. Even the fee for Post Graduate courses is at Rs 15,000,” said the OU vice-chancellor.

Prof D Ravinder further explained that the students can avail of the reimbursement of the fee. He claimed that the PhD coursework will be done according to the norms prescribed by the University Grants Commission which is expensive by itself.

“The decision regarding fee structure on PhD programme has a huge impact on students from marginalised sections, it deters them from pursuing higher education,” said a press release from the research students of OU.

In the request letter submitted to the minister, the students alleged that the university’s decision is not rational as when compared with the fee structure of various central and state universities, the OU fee hike is steep and comes without prior notice.

The letter also requests the minister to ensure that the students are allotted supervisors and a university fellowship.

Speaking about the allotment of supervisors, Nelli Satya said, “Research Scholars who joined under category 2, in 2022, have not been allotted to their respective supervisors yet. We were supposed to receive an order during our admission allotting us but when we asked the university administration, they informed us that this will be done after 6 months but did not tell us the reason for the delay”.

Sandeep Kumar, an OU research scholar, said that this delay in allotting supervisors is mostly due to the shortage of teaching faculty at the university. “Another blow to the students is the delay in the singing of the Telangana Universities Common Recruitment Board Bill, 2022 by the Governor. Since the bill has been reserved by the Governor for “consideration and assent of the President”, the recruitment of teaching faculty will be delayed even further”.

Prof D Ravinder said, “The allotment of supervisors was kept on hold to ensure that the PhD students get some time to be accustomed to the professors and finish their coursework. However, the Standing Committee has reconsidered this decision. We will be completing the allotment in a week”.

He further informed that the providence of a university fellowship is decided by the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines. “After the completion of the UGC XII Plan (2012-2017), the commission does not hold the university obligation to provide non-NET fellowships to the students. I have personally requested the UGC chairman to reconsider this however, there is not much in the hands of the university”.

OU students have expressed that the campaign against the fee hike will continue and if there is no fee structure revision even after the minister intervenes, protests will ensue.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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