Several IIT MTech aspirants staged a protest today on October 4, 2019, at Jantar Mantar, Delhi against the HRD Ministry decision to hike fees for Master’s degree programme at Indian Institutes of Technology. Students under the banner of All India Engineering Student Council demand a roll-back of the 900% fee hike in the Indian Institutes of Technology’s M.Tech programme.
The ministry in a recent decision with the consultation of the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) hiked the course fees of the postgraduate (Master’s) programmes and also slashed the stipend received by those students. Officials have defended the fee hike decision saying the move will reduce dropouts in the premier technological and engineering institutes in the country.
The protesters said the hike will be an excess burden on “serious students” which count to 50% of total admitted students who are “surely is a large number and government cannot be ignorant towards those who want to pursue their career through M.Tech”. The protesters accused the IITs of being detached from the plight of poor and middle-class students who will not be able to afford the increased fees.
A tweet from the protesting students said, “This step compels most students to take more loans, thus will discourage most students to choose M.Tech in IITs. Rather they will choose any private institute where they’ll get a stipend as AICTE came with an explanation that they will continue to give stipend in private colleges.”
Although a large number of protesters appeared to be associated with a coaching institute that prepares examinees for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) and many others who were disappointed with the IIT Council’s decision. The GATE regulates admission into MTech programme of the IITs.
IIT Council Approves MTech Fee Hike at IITs
At a meeting last month on September 27, 2019, The IIT Council, which governs the IITs led by Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ approved a proposal to hike the fee of the masters programme from around Rs 10,000-Rs 20,000 to close to Rs 2 lakhs per year (to the level of the B.Tech courses) over three years.
The council also decided that all M.Tech students will no longer be eligible for stipends they were before. The decision was taken on recommendations of a three-member committee on reforms on M.Tech programme in IITs.
The MHRD had clarified in a statement on last Sunday that the hike will be applicable on fresh admissions and will be introduced gradually. It will not affect the batch currently enrolled.
The IITs have defended the decision arguing it as a step towards filtering uninterested students out of the system. The HRD ministry’s statement said “The fee hike will discourage non-serious students, who after a few months of stay in IITs, leave the programme midway to take up employment or to prepare for competitive exams. All concessions and scholarships for SC/ST/OBC and needy students will continue without change. No student will be deprived of an opportunity for education because of weak financial condition.”
IIT MTech Fees Hike Controversy – Is the Move Justified?
- While comparing the Indian Institutes with Global other top Institutes like MIT, etc on the ground of Quality of Education and Infrastructure, the top Universities of the world are cash-rich but Indian Top Institutes seen struggling with funds.
- More fund can be used to attract more industry-backed and relevant research. This also allows the Institutes to constantly undertake development works.
- The other thing ailing the IITs is lack of truly interested students. In the recent AISHE report released by MHRD, the number of science graduates taking up masters program has seen a sharp decline. Soon after graduation IIT graduates getting lucrative packages, the interest of pursuing masters has seen a sharp decline.
- Experts also point out that a large number of students also leave their masters’ program after they get a job. Low fees at the IITs have been seen to become too less an opportunity cost to reconsider completing the course.
- The resultant economics of higher education continues to cost the IITs for both financially as well as academically.
- On the other hand, dropouts from the Management Institutes (IIMs) are very fewer where fees are considerably high.
- To attract foreign researchers and to give stimulus to a growth culture in the country, it has become almost essential to find the students who are truly inclined towards the pursuit of academic excellence and research.
- There are still bright minds (Students from any Class or Category) who wish to pursue higher education for the pure pursuit of science and technological advancement. However, as pointed out by the MHRD, there are provisions that would ensure that finances should never deter such a mind from admission to the IITs.
Education is a noble cause but it still requires money, So we need a balance and an acceptable way for both the Institutes and Students. If we as a country wish to shine, then we need to start supporting our Educational Institution so that they can empower the country to a brighter future.
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