Monday, 30th October 2017

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IIT MTech fees shoot up

Tenfold hike over three years

By Basant Kumar Mohanty in New Delhi
  • Published 28.09.19, 5:30 AM
  • Updated 28.09.19, 5:30 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
IIT, Delhi Picture by Prem Singh

The Indian Institutes of Technology will raise their MTech tuition fee tenfold over the next three years and restrict the award of the monthly fellowship, moves that some teachers said would keep out impoverished but meritorious students and lower the quality of the programme.

The IIT Council, the apex decision-making body for the institutes, on Friday approved the proposal to hike the MTech fee, now a yearly Rs 20,000, to the level of the BTech fee, which is Rs 2 lakh.

Currently, each of the nearly 10,000 MTech students at these institutes is entitled to a Rs 12,400 monthly fellowship, also called the “teaching assistantship”. From now on, only a select few “competent” students will receive the fellowship, although their number or the criteria to determine competence haven’t been clarified yet.

Two council members said the MTech tuition fees would be waived entirely for students from the Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes and those from families earning less than Rs 1 lakh a year. Students whose families earn between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh will get a two-thirds waiver.

However, even these waivers may not be incentive enough for some students because of the curbs on the fellowship, some academics feared.

Several teachers suggested that Friday’s decisions would lead to a lowering of the quality of students, with affluence rather than merit influencing enrolment.

They cited the example of American universities, most of which have stopped giving fellowships to Master of Science students in the past 10 to 15 years.

“Most students joining MS courses in US universities are rich but not necessarilybright. The quality of the programme has taken a beating and the universities have had to lower their entry criteria. The same thing will happen with the IITs,” a senior teacher from IIT Bombay said.

The three-member committee that made the recommendations included IIT Hyderabad director B.S. Murty, IIT Jammu director Manoj S. Gaur and IIT Delhi professor M. Balakrishnan.

They said these steps would check the practice of students “parking” themselves at the IITs for a few months — till they got a job — and therefore reduce dropout levels.

An IIT Kharagpur teacher said that about 20 per cent of students now dropped out of the MTech programme after getting jobs with PSUs.

He said that while such students would now be deterred from joining the programme, so would be many good students from low-income families.

A media release from the Press Information Bureau said the committee had also encouraged the IITs “to move towards sponsored students or even sponsored programmes as per requirement of industry”.