New Delhi: The central government has decided to not increase fee for M.Tech courses in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) this year, ThePrint has learnt.
In 2019, a committee on reforms in M.Tech education in the IITs had suggested that the fee be increased to the level of B.Tech courses. It was approved by the IIT Council the same year. The decision was, however, deferred by the Ministry of Education, following criticism from students.
The matter, which was under consideration by the government, was once again taken up during the IIT Council meeting that took place Monday. According to the Council’s agenda, a copy of which is with ThePrint, reforms in M.Tech courses were a part of the discussions.
Officials who were present at the meeting told ThePrint that the IIT Council, headed by Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, has decided to not go ahead with the fee hike for now. The government will instead try to “build incentives” so that students who enroll for M.Tech programme do not drop out in the middle of a course, officials said.
An official response from the education ministry to ThePrint read, “We have decided not to increase the M.Tech fees this year and will try to build incentives in the program of M.Tech so that students do not leave the course in the middle of the year.”
A source present at the meeting said, “The ministry is not in favour of fee hike for M.Tech courses. We don’t know if the matter will be taken up in a meeting later, but for now, the fee is not increasing.”
What the committee had suggested
The committee on reforms in M.Tech education — comprising B.S. Murty, director, IIT-Hyderabad; Manoj S. Gaur, director, IIT-Jammu; and M. Balakrishnan from IIT-Delhi — had suggested to “proactively increase the M.Tech fee and bring it at least to the level of B.Tech fee (Rs 2 lakh per year) over the next three years”.
The committee also said that the “needy students should be supported directly by the government through DBT (direct benefit transfer)” or by arranging educational loans.
According to the committee’s report, a copy of which is with ThePrint, it was also suggested that the “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 per cent) be made available to the departments for offering teaching assistantships (for UG labs and courses) to the students who are competent and want them”.
According to the committee, increase in fee and stopping the stipend will “reduce dropouts” from M.Tech programmes. The committee believed that students join M.Tech programmes in IITs only for a few months and drop out once they get a good job offer.
“Increase in fee along with a stoppage of stipend would immediately increase the cost of ‘parking’ at IITs for a few months and hence reduce the dropouts,” the committee had said.