The administration of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) here would be proposing a fee hike and upper age-limit of 25 years for admissions at tomorrow's meeting of its academic council in Mumbai.
But the proposal has not gone down well with a group of students who said the administration was trying to earn "profit" and make the institute "commercial". "The rationale behind proposing hike in fee structure is that for five years the fees were not increased as they should have been. In fact, in 2010, the fee of acting course, which is self-financing, was Rs 1.75 lakh (per annum) however, the then administration brought it down to Rs 48,000," said the FTII director Bhupendra Kainthola.
"Ideally, the fee of each course should be increased by 10 per cent every year, however no attempt to revise fees was made in the past and CAG audit passed strictures that the fees at FTII were irrational," he said. For the acting course, the administration was going to propose the fee of Rs 3.40 lakh p.a. he said.
The fees of the four specialised courses –- direction, cinematography, editing and sound recording -- was earlier Rs 33,000 and over the years it was marginally increased to Rs 48,000, he said. "Ideally, if 10 per cent hike is effected every year, the fee for these courses should be Rs 64,000," Kainthola said.
FTII had studied the fee structures of other institutes such as the National School of Drama and National Institute of Design before finalising the proposal, he said. Kainthola said at present there was no upper age limit for admissions, and a proposal to fix it at 25 years would be tabled in tomorrow's meeting. Institutes such as NSD and NID have upper age limit for admission, the FTII director said.
"There is also a proposal to increase the hostel fees," he said. Students had expressed reservations, he said, adding that "they have two students' representatives at the academic council, so they can present their view in the meeting".
Meanwhile, a group of students today staged a protest outside the Director's office, accusing the administration of turning the institute into a commercial place to earn the profit and keeping the students from the poor background away from the cinema.
"The idea of FTII was never to earn profit. India being a welfare state, where education is right, by increasing the fees irrationally you are keeping certain class of the society away from the cinema and film making," said Yashaswi Mishra of FTII Students Association.
"The administration is citing reasons that they have not increased the fees for a long time, they are actually talking the language of profitability and sending a clear message that if you have the money, then (only) you can learn cinema." He also criticised the proposal to fix the upper age limit at 25. "It is an irrational decision for an art institute and we students will fight it till end," he said.
FSA also criticised the administration for holding the meeting of academic council in Mumbai instead of at FTII premises. FTII had witnessed a prolonged strike of students last year against the appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman.