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Earn and learn scheme: Students protest SPPU’s ‘no work on holidays’ rule 

Earn and learn scheme: Students protest SPPU’s ‘no work on holidays’ rule 

Strap: Students allege, the rule will reduce their monthly income by Rs1,000; demand increase in per hour rates on working days

The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) has asked students registered with the earn and learn scheme to stick with the holiday timetable of the varsity, keeping beneficiaries from working on Sundays and other public holidays. Students, who have availed of the opportunity, allege that they feel cheated, as a sizeable part of their estimated income from the scheme comes through work on Sundays and holidays.

The students also staged protests against the new rule stating that it has considerably reduced their monthly income. Satish Gore, students and state secretary of National Youth Congress, said, “The scheme is for students who come from economically weaker sections of the society. Due to this new rule, each student is now facing a loss of at least Rs 1,000 per month. If the varsity wants us to follow the holiday timetable, then the per hour rates of the working days, should be increased from Rs 45 to Rs 60 per hour.”

Arun Adsool, former vice-chancellor SPPU and head of earn and learn scheme committee, said, “Upon investigation, it was found that some of the students were taking full payment despite not working on Sunday or public holidays. The students are given a break on Sunday so that they get time for their studies. This rule has been formed keeping in mind their careers and not their financial benefits. We are working on improving the scheme and brining in more transparency in the process.”

The scheme has helped students hailing from rural parts to earn a livelihood and supplement their education cost is a blessing, according to university officials. However, this year, the university kicked off the scheme late in the academic year and has curtailed its potential, alleged the students.

“I had enrolled for this scheme after knowing its benefits. However, the scheme did not start for the initial two months of the academic year. Under the scheme, students receive Rs 135 per day for working for three hours. With the opportunity to do so for 28-30 days we earned at least Rs 4,000 per month. But the math has changed under this new rule and this will reduce our income to Rs 3,000. Not just that, the SPPU administration has also scaled up the refractory and hostel fees,” said Tarun Jauhari, a first year student of Master of Arts (history department)

He added, “If the students are ready to work on public holidays, why is the administration having an issue? The staff receives full salary despite not working on public holidays, so why is the administration reducing our salary? If the situation continues, we will conduct daily protests.”

When HT contacted Sadanand Bhosale, director, SPPU’s board of students’ development under which the scheme runs, he refused to talk about the student protests.

Less enrolment this year

The enrolment for this scheme has gone down this year due to the strict rules. At least 2,267 students were working under this scheme till last year; however, only 641 students have enrolled for the scheme in the 2019-2020 academic year.

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