An Inessential Imperative?
Mar 13, 2017 | Yasmin Kukul
At the time of registration every semester, a student, irrespective of whether he/she is in a B. Tech, B. Arch or an Integrated M. Sc. course, pays an amount of 2000 INR towards a head called the Book Fee, which gets added to the students' book balance. This amount is debited from their balance, to pay for the books that the students order from the Annual Book Exhibition which is held every semester. However, given recent queries from our readers, regarding the efficacy of the process, Monday Morning launched a poll titled as "Should the book fee be abolished?" to estimate whether or not this system has lived up to fulfil its desired purpose.
Response 1: Yes, most of us do not benefit from the book fairs organised by the Institute and find the refund procedure too cumbersome.
A massive amount of 81% of the NITR populace feels that the book fair and eventually the book fee doesn't serve its purpose. One of the major reasons is that the book fair for the upcoming semester is organised in the previous semester, which calls for the students to pre-gauge what books they need to order. This process has usually relied on enquiring from the seniors belonging to the same department regarding the required books and authors. But with a change in the syllabi and with newer teachers being employed, the previous procedure is facing issues too.
Apart from that, the entire amount in the book balance is most of the times not completely used up by the time a student graduates. Since it is known that it is not reimbursed, what happens to the residual amount is something that is still in the dark.
Another matter of concern is, according to the present system, it is not allowed to procure books related to competitive exams or novels, legally. Students have to buy a course book having a price comparable to the book they require and later exchange it at the bookstore itself. A lot of students do not find this very convenient. Added to the woes are discrepancies in the bill that sometimes crop up and apprehensions regarding the sellers selling books at a price greater than the marked price, which poses problems that are hard to resolve.
Response 2: No, the amount is fully utilised since we have to purchase books, every semester.
16% of students feel that the concept of the book fee is a good one and should not be abolished. This is primarily because, despite there being discrepancies and certain inconveniences, students still need to buy course books every semester. The book fee balance serves as a savings account, which is readily available for this necessary purchase, while the book exhibition saves the students a lot of hassles by ordering the books then and there without paying anything at that particular time, instead of going to the bookstores and buying them individually.
Most students who fall in this category of agreeing with the idea of the book fee tend to utilise almost the entire amount that is available in their book balance and abide by the system in all its fallacies.
Response 3: It doesn't affect me.
A meagre 3% of the junta prefers not to take sides about the issue, leaving it up to the authorities to decide whether they wish to continue with the system of book fee or get it done away with. Few of them also tend to miss the exhibition dates ultimately, taking no notice of the accumulating book balance and resulting in the lapse of the amount.
There were discussions regarding the matter of whether the book fee should be abolished and the authorities could not disclose it as it was in a premature state. However, there might be a few changes in the system as the Dean of Academics, Prof. B. Majhi, in one of his interviews has said:
From the next year, we have decided to do away with the current system of purchasing books as we believe the students are matured enough to decide and buy books for themselves.