Following the sit-in protests by students in front of Director's office, the FTII relented and said the five students could continue to stay on in the hostel.
The 2016 batch of students, the first ones to be exposed to a new syllabus introduced previous year, said they were being used as "guinea pigs" to experiment with the changed syllabus and evaluation system.
Mumbai: A day after Anupam Kher was appointed Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), its students' association has drawn the veteran actor's attention to nine key issues persisting in the iconic Pune-based institution.
"Throughout the second semester, we worked on weekends, we worked days and nights, only to finish the exercises on time because we too want to finish the course on time and go on to make our own films".
Read the letter for the full text of student concerns. "I have been running an acting school for 14 years, and I think I have survived in the entertainment industry for 40 years because I am a student of National School of Drama", he said. Also, the entire syllabus has to be handed to the students at the time of admission which hasn't been done by the administration so far.
The status of the lightmen in the institute, who earlier were permanent staff, but are now contract labour.
- Lavish amount of money was spent by the administration on Open Day and Foundation Day should be spent on buying lights, equipment to help them in finishing their projects on time. In case of a sixth day, at times the light-men are not paid now. Every student is being charged Rs 20,000, which we find very expensive for such a short-term course and also for students from certain sections of the society. This results in dearth in the number of staff for the institute to run properly. The faculty members claimed that the new schedule was aimed at completing the course on time.
Students said that although they had brought these issues to the notice of Dean (Films) as well as the Director of the institute, and requested them to ensure that the learning aspect should be given priority over enforcement of timelines, they had been told that the norms would not be changed. "But the students of the third semester made a decision to continue with the boycott despite the solution we offered regarding the schedule".
The student body has urged Kher, who will now be heading the institute, to resolve these longstanding issues.
FTII has been producing filmmakers who are working on various platforms. "A government institute that exists to provide education to students from all section shouldn't be driven by the agenda of funds generation, which now seems to be the aim of these courses which has also been the case with government-run institute/universities across the nation", said the letter. "But students at various instances have been asked to look at the industry practice where cinema is just being looked at as a commodity and not as an art form which serves the larger human cause".