IITs defend M.Tech fee hike; claims move aimed to deter non-serious candidates

IITs defend M.Tech fee hike; claims move aimed to deter non-serious candidates
Abhay Anand | Sep 30, 2019 - 10:42 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 30: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have defended their decision to increase the fee of M.Tech courses by up to 10 times to Rs. 2 lakh per year. The IITs have argued that the decision has been taken as the fees for M.Tech programmes at IITs has not been revised for many years and are to be increased, particularly to deter students who discontinue the course mid-way.

The IIT Council in its recent meeting decided to increase the fee which will be introduced in a staggered manner over a three-year period, starting from 2020 academic session. Presently, IITs charge between Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 50,000 per year for M.Tech.

As per a statement released by IIT Madras, “The increase in fees will be gradual, and only for future admissions, and will be decided by the BoG (Board of Governors) of each IIT. Scholarships given to reserved category students will continue as at present. The limited number of scholarships currently being given to meritorious M.Tech. students will also continue.”

Prof B.S. Murty, IIT Hyderabad Director who was part of a three-member committee on reforms on MTech programme in IITs has said that the new measures in IITs M.Tech program will change the landscape of postgraduate education in India and align it with global trends quickly.

Prof Murty, addressing media said, “The reforms were called for as (a) The percentage of M.Techs placed in jobs during campus recruitment is small. (b) A Number of MTechs seats are being unfilled due to the students leading MTech programs to take up the public sector and industry jobs. (c) M.Tech is not the minimum requirement any more for joining PhD and most of the IITs take B.Techs directly into PhD programme. (d) Earlier, people with M.Tech qualification were able to get into academic jobs, which no more the case and PhD is essential for a faculty position in most of the institutions.”

he argued that due to the above reasons, students are joining M. Tech mostly to upgrade themselves to get industry jobs. “Some of them are even using this as paid parking space to pursue other interests,” he said.

The Council has also decided that the present stipend (Rs 12,400 per month given as half-time teaching assistantship should be stopped and the good fraction of the M.Tech. fee (say 50%) be made available to the Departments for offering Teaching Assistantships (for UG labs and courses) to the students who are competent and want them. These funds can also be used for other professional activities of the Department.

Top one percentile of the students qualifying in each GATE discipline be offered full fellowship for 5 years (on par with regular PhD fellowship) to join any Institution of their choice for PhD (CSIR fellowship model in Sciences).

Increase in fee (i) along with stoppage of stipend (ii) would immediately increase the cost of “parking” at IITs for few months and hence reduces the dropouts. High fee-paying programs like MBA even in the IIT system hardly see any drop-outs. Students think and exercise the choice after assessing whether the program adds enough value for them to spend two years and bear the cost of education.

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