As per the new regulation, students will pay Rs. 2 to 3 lakh as course fee as opposed to the earlier fee of Rs. 30, 000 – 50,000
Hundreds of students under the banner of All India Engineering Student Council (AIESC) gathered at JantarMantar to stage a protest demanding a rollback of the fee hike for MTech courses announced by the council of IITs last week.
The IIT Council led by Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ had on last Friday approved a proposal to the hike the fee of the master’s programme and bring it to the level of the BTech courses.
The students protested saying that the hike will be an excess burden on ‘serious students’ which count to 50% of total admitted students who are ‘surely a large number and the government cannot be ignorant towards those who want to pursue their career through MTech’.
Students’ List of Demands
In their list of demands, which is trending on Twitter under the hashtags#mtechfeeshike and #engineersatjantarmantar, the aspirants demanded the revocation of the fee hike. They asked for the student stipend to be restarted to cope with the expenses of B.E / B Tech courses.
The fee hike, students contended, compelled most students to take more loans, thus discouraging students to choose MTech in IITs. Rather, they will choose any private institute where they'll get a stipend.
They also demanded the council to make the M Tech course industry / market ready. They complained that while the government was in a hurry to increase the fee, they did nothing to improve the degraded quality of the courses which were outdated and not attracting any placement opportunities.
The AIESC also wrote a letter against the fee hike to the MHRD with the signatures of the protesting students. Close to 68,000 students signed the online petition demanding a withdrawal in the fee hike and the petition is now doing the rounds on social media platforms. Several students have also appealed to the Prime Minister to take back the decision of increasing the fee for the M Tech programme.
The letter stated that the decision to hike up the fee would shatter the dreams of students who wished to pursue higher studies. It also said that the admission to M Tech is already heavily skewed against the students from rural and economically weaker backgrounds. The fee hike would not only hamper their goals, but also stop the spread of education amongst the masses.
The letter also stated that the students lacked job clarity and asked the council to review the support system in IITs, especially for students from economically weaker sections who found it difficult to cope with the new environment, language, culture, etc. during their stay at IIT campuses. The students demanded a complete centralised structure for this process where the less privileged (those securing lower ranks) should not be deprived of any opportunity.
The petitioners requested the authorities to withhold the fee hike, the discontinuation of the stipend and the introduction of the ‘exit’ program.
Earlier, the IIT-Delhi Director V RamgopalRao termed the recent hike in course fee a ‘surgical strike’ saying, “The freebies we have been doling out with taxpayers’ money to students who are uninterested and into systems which have become unaccountable need to stop at some point.”
Clarifications by the Ministry
After the AISEC staged their protest, the HRD clarified that there was no fee hike for the existing students and for the new admissions, the hike will be gradual over a period of three years or more, as will be decided by the respective board of governors of IITs.
The Ministry also said that the needy students would be provided necessary financial support and all concessions and scholarships for SC/ST/OBC and others would continue without change.
To protest against the fee hike and save the future of engineers of the country, please sign the petition at - https://www.change.org/p/mhrd-india-m-tech-fee-hike-take-it-back
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