New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has announced a major change in the fee structure of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Students of M.Tech, who so far had to pay only about two-thirds of the fee that B.Tech students had to pay in most IITs, will now have to pay an equal amount.
The decision has been taken to deal with the fact that over 2,400 students dropped out of various IITs in the last two years, showed the latest data presented to Parliament. According to the government, a majority of the drop-outs were at the post-graduate level.
However, at the B.Tech level, the government has decided to provide an exit option to academically weaker students who are not able to finish their course. There is no change in fee structure for the under-graduate level either.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the IIT Council, where Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ was joined by directors of the IITs, and senior ministry officials, including the higher education secretary.
“The council approved, in principle, recommendations of the three-member committee constituted for suggesting reforms in M.Tech system. The committee has, inter alia, recommended uniform fee structure for M.Tech programme in all IITs, and for charging the same fee for M.Tech as in B.Tech programmes,” an official note from the ministry stated.
Steps to prevent drop-outs
The council also asked the institutes to move towards “sponsored students” at the post-graduate level.
Sponsored candidates are those who are sponsored by their respective organisations for pursuing a Master’s degree. They do not have to qualify GATE, which is a mandatory examination for regular candidates, and just have to sit through the interview. Such students are also not paid any stipend by IITs, and can only sit in placements if they have a no-objection certificate from their respective companies.
For preventing drop-outs at the B.Tech level, the council has decided that “students who are not able to secure the required credits for promotion to the next semester may be allowed an exit option with a degree programme after second semester, rather than being forced out of the programme”.
Individual IITs have been asked to devise their own modalities in this regard.
Another major decision taken in the meeting is about the appointment of faculty members.
All new faculty members in IITs will now be recruited on the basis of tenure-track system. The system entails faculty members being reviewed after three years by an internal review committee, and after five years by an external committee, based on which future retention or promotion of the faculty member will be decided.
This system will also provide more flexibility in recruitment, without insisting on three years’ post-PhD experience.
So far, faculty members in IITs were hired on a permanent basis, but the tenure-track system will change that to a more performance-based and review-based system.
It was also decided that the first and second generation IITs will not engage faculty members from third generation IITs before they complete a minimum of two years at those institutions.
For foreign students
To get more foreign students at IITs, it has been decided that foreign students, including Overseas Citizen of India card holders with foreign passports, as well as those who have studied abroad, would be provided direct entry to appear in the JEE Advanced examinations, skipping the JEE Main, which Indian students have to sit for.
The IITs have also been asked to prepare a scheme to provide scholarships for bright foreign students.