Students write open letter to new chief
PUNE: Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students have written a letter to veteran actor Anupam Kher, named on Wednesday as the institute’s new chairperson, outlining nine issues they want to bring to his attention.
Inadequate resources, concerns over short-term courses and contractual arrangements for teachers were mentioned as issues “affecting” the students.
Kher, 62, will take over after a controversial stint by Gajender Chauhan, whose selection as the FTII chairman triggered allegations that the government was trying to push people of an ideology close to Hindutva in important positions.
In 2015, FTII saw unprecedented protests and a 139-day strike by students opposed to Chauhan’s appointment. On Wednesday, students responded to Kher’s appointment as “another joke” after Chauhan’s stint.
Here are the excerpts from the letter written by the students.
“...We would also like to bring your attention to the following issues persisting in the institute that you will be heading as the chairman. Also, we are curious to know your take on these issues.
FTII is now slowly being turned into an institute that runs short term crash courses for generation of funds. For instance, the new course launched earlier this month ‘Short Course in Fiction Writing for Television’ has a duration of 20 days. Every student is being charged ₹20,000 which we find very expensive for such a course.
Over the past one year the administration has spent lavish amount of money on events such as ‘Open Day’, ‘Foundation Day’. We as students believe that the amount of money being spent on lights, erecting set pieces in front of the campus can be spent on the infrastructure and in buying and repairing equipments which would only help us in finishing our projects on time.
The new syllabus brought in place has its issues like workshops and classes being cut down from the syllabus during the course of the semester arbitrarily. It has been a year since the syllabus has been in place so a proper audit of the new syllabus has to be done and such issues need to be rectified.
Like growing culture of having only contractual faculties in the universities and educational institutes across the country, FTII also now has mostly contractual faculties.
They can’t get access of the benefits like a permanent faculties does. The institute does not have enough number of faculties to run the courses and because of this implementation of syllabus is getting affected.
Students are being forced to sign undertakings to finish their courses ‘on time’. On the other hand, administration is not providing the necessary resources which are essential to finish their projects on time.
In February, the students association were told that the student representatives would be excluded from Academic Council discussion. Considering the fact that the students are the primary stakeholders and voting members in the council this move is against the Constitution of the institute.”