Stu­dents write open let­ter to new chief

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - NATION - Yo­gesh Joshi let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

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.”

Anu­pam Kher

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