Reservation seats left vacant in FTII, say students
SC, ST OBC seats and waitlist in some categories remain unfilled in first merit list.
Pune | Students of the Film and Television Insititute of India (FTII) have alleged irregularities in the admission processes saying that the institute has left a few seats as well as waitlist positions in the OBC, SC and ST categories vacant, citing reasons of ineligibility.
In the merit list released on July 26th, for the academic year 2021, the students say that while all the General category seats have been filled, the ones reserved have been deliberately left vacant making “a gross mockery of the provisions of Reservation by which these admissions are to take place.”
“When questioned, the officials said that the seats were left vacant as the students could not pass the eligibility criteria. How is that even possible,” questions Steffi, one of the protesting students from the 2018 batch.
The institute offers seven specialisations in the PG Diploma Programme - Direction and Screenplay writing, Cinematography, Editing, Sound Recording and Sound Design, Art Direction and Production Design, Screen Acting and Screenwriting (Film, TV and Web Series. While the Screenwriting course has a capacity of 13 seats, all the others have 11 seats.
In each specialisation, 15 percent of seats are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC), 7.5 percent for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) while 27 percent are reserved for candidates belonging to non-creamy layer of Other Backward Classes (OBC NLC). The cutoff percentages are 45 percent for OBC (NCL) and Gen EWS, 40 percent for SC and ST and General PwD and 50 percent for the General category.
The merit list displayed on the official website of the institute accessed by Indie Journal shows that in the Editing specialisation, only two seats have been filled in the OBC criteria, instead of the required three, without leaving anyone on the waitlist. Similarly, in Art Direction and Production Design, ST and EWS categories have been left vacant, where one candidate each needed to be filled. No candidate in the category is on the waitlist either.
While the students say that the institute said it could not fill the seats due to a lack of eligible candidates, they have also pointed toward the ambiguity in the admission process.
“The Joint Entrance Test (JET) constitutes just 20 percent of the total grade for admission. Orientation and interviews account for the rest 80 percent. That is a very subjective analysis conducted by our own departments. This leaves the process ambiguous to those who want to question it. If no candidate is able to clear this process even after clearing the written test, it is evident that a bias exists in how candidates are evaluated and deemed ineligible. There is no transparency about these marks or which students qualify and which don’t,” Avanti Basargekar, President, FTII Students’ Association said.
The Orientation and Interview were conducted online this time, which the students say further highlights inequalities with which candidates were attempting their admission.
Protest by students at FTII on Friday. Photo - Prajakta Joshi
A statement issued by the FTIISA also said that in the larger concern of following the reservation policy, similar irregularities recur in the faculty recruitment of the institute.
Indie Journal tried to reach FTII’s interim director Sandeep Shahare for information regarding the same, but could not establish contact.
This is not the first time that applicants and students have expressed doubts over the admission process. In 2019, an applicant had to file an RTI inquiry just to find out the cut-offs as the institute did not reveal them publicly. Earlier in 2017, the merit list was revised, this left some students who were first informed that they were selected, out of the second ‘revised’ list.
The students said that over the last few years, the institute has been filtering incoming members to mute the voices of the students. “The student community considers this a blatant violation of the laws of Reservation hiding under the garb of self-made rules of the institute. We firmly stand against their values reflected in the merit list and ask that they re-evaluate the result,” the students’ association said in its statement.