FTII students protest against global film school’ statusNews — By The Desk on July 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM
Times of India: Demanding improvement of existing infrastructure at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), students of the institute protested against the recent announcement by the ministry of information and broadcasting to upgrade FTII as a global film school, on Wednesday morning.
“We are against FTII being accredited as a global film school as stakeholders and vested commercial interests from the film industry are involved,” said Samarth Dixit, president of FTII’s students’ association. “If our institute becomes a global film school, each of its courses will cost over Rs 6 lakh and we might have to cater to certain sections of the film industry, especially Bollywood, which is against the preference of students who want to work in the regional film industries.”
However, the focus of the agitating students remained the existing infrastructure, like film-shooting equipment and the number of hostel rooms not being in proportion to the number of students. “Currently, students from four batches are studying at FTII. There is also a lack of well-trained faculty and the delay in getting our diplomas has also been compounded,” Dixit said.
The students voiced their fears that the ministry of information and broadcasting’s recent announcement about the institute’s upgradation into a global film school will make it financially out-of-bounds for aspirants from the country’s heartland. As per government norm, there has been a hike of 10 per cent in fees of the courses at FTII. Four of its main courses editing, cinematography, sound and direction run on government subsidy. “But we are apprehensive that these, as well as other courses, will get costlier if the upgradation involves public-private partnership,” said another student, on condition of anonymity.
“FTII has students from diverse backgrounds. A lot of them come from rural interiors, villages and towns. The true academic spirit and ethos of the institute will be lost if such students are deprived of education here when the courses become costly,” said Ajayan Adat, a second-year student of sound and cultural secretary of the students’ association.
The I & B ministry has also proposed introduction of new short-term courses at FTII. “We want to first question the quality that these courses would have,” said Dixit. “Basically, we do not wish to antagonise anyone. We are simply concerned about the future of FTII. The institute’s director, Pankaj Rag, has invited suggestions from us on bettering facilities here,” said Dixit.
Prakash Magdum, registrar of FTII, said, “We are in consultation with the students’ association, FTII’s alumni association and our stakeholders, in order to come up with a report on the upgradation of FTII as a global film school. We are in the process of preparing this report and have also employed the services of a private consultant for upgradation plans,” said Magdum.
Dixit said the FTII students’ association have plans to form a core committee of students who will look into the students’ demands and suggestions and communicate this to the institute.