University increases stipend under Earn and Learn scheme by Rs 5 on

Feb 14, 2013, 08:14 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

What is the value of Rs 5 in today's times? Apparently a lot, as the University of Pune (UoP) has increased the hourly stipend of Earn and Learn Scheme by Rs 5, raising it to Rs 25, following a long pending demand for a hike by over 25,000 students.

Currently, 867 students working on the varsity campus will be benefited from the hike. It may be implemented in over 600 affiliated colleges by the next academic year.

“Even a cup of tea costs Rs 8 in the UoP canteens. Still the administration decides a ‘hike’ of Rs 5. We have to congratulate the university for such a student-centric decision,” said a frustrated MA student.

More than enough: According to Dr Pandit Shelke, Director, Board of Students' Welfare, the earnings are a stipend and not a salary and, hence, the hike is adequate. Pic / Niranjan Medhekar    

The Earn and Learn scheme is run by the UoP’s Board of Students Welfare (BSF) on campus. “Even though the proposed hike seems to be minimal, it will increase daily stipend by Rs 15 as every student can work for three to four hours a day under the scheme,” said Dr Pandit Shelke, Director, BSF.

Under Earn and Learn Scheme, a student can do field work which includes gardening, cleaning or clerical jobs in any of the departments. A time limit of three hours a day has been set for fieldwork and four hours a day for office work.

“Till date, a student could earn between Rs 1,800 and 2,400 per month with a stipend of Rs 20 per hour. Following the hike, anyone working for three hours a day can earn Rs 2,250 a month,” Shelke pointed out.

However, the students are not satisfied. “We were expecting a hike of at least Rs 10 per hour, that would have raised our monthly earnings to Rs 3,000. Even though we get many facilities like hostel and refectory at a subsidised rate, the current stipend is certainly not enough,” lamented a student.

Justifying the hike, Dr Sanjeev Sonavne, senior member of Management Council, said, “In University’s refectory, a student get a meal for Rs 23. So, if a student earns Rs 75 per day by working for three hours, he can still save Rs 29 after eating two meals a day.”

“One has to understand the difference between stipend and salary. The scheme is for students from a poor background. Apart from stipend, these students are also given various scholarships. So the proposed hike is alright,” Sonavne added. “This Rs 5 is the maximum the UoP has hiked in Earn and Learn Scheme since it started in the 80’s. Last time, they had increased Rs 2,” said an official.  

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