Published: 30th September 2019
New form of Manu-dharma: APSC slams IIT policy to increase MTech fee, introduce BSc for weaker students
The Circle condemned the Council for covering up its failure of not providing enough support to students and instead filtering them out from the system
The Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras has condemned the IIT Council's move to increase MTech fees and introduce the partial-exit programme for underperforming students. The Circle called the policy an 'attack' on socially and economically unprivileged students from getting higher education. They called this a new form of 'Manu-Dharma'.
At the 53rd IIT Council meeting headed by the HRD Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', it was decided that the fees for the MTech students would be increased to 2 lakh, which is ten times more than the current fees. They also decided that MTech students would stop receiving their monthly stipend of Rs 12,400. The APSC in their statement said that this fee is even higher than the tuition fee in self-financing institutions. "The rationale of IIT council to increase the fee and discontinue the stipend was reported as measures to check students using IIT seats for “parking” themselves before joining in a public sector undertaking. This is dubious. In reality, these two policies will discourage students from socially and economically backward communities from doing MTech in IITs," the group said.
They also pointed out that this problem can easily be addressed either by not allowing PSUs to recruit from GATE or the PSUs can recruit before the admissions to the IITs begin. APSC pointed out that financial autonomy is the guiding light for such fee hikes with the aim to commercialise higher education in India. The recently granted Institute of Eminence status regulations impose financial autonomy on the higher education institutes that lead to stoppage of the annual grants from MHRD, the APSC members said in their statement. This new move is with the intention to transform public-funded non-profits into profiteering 'world-class institutes', "These HEIs are forced to meet their expenses through fees hike or loan from Higher Education Financial Agency (HEFA). This burden of the loan will reflect as further fee hikes for students."
The Circle also heavily criticised the Council's decision to approve an 'honourable exit' programme for academically weak BTech students. These students will be pushed into a BSC programme and not be able to pursue MTech or ME after graduating. The group said that this programme will vastly impact students from socially and economically backward communities, "In most of the IITs there is no support system for such underperforming students. The affirmative action starts and ends with admission. If this new policy is introduced, by the time students are able to overcome their initial difficulties with the new environment, language, culture, etc. in the IIT system, their destiny will be fixed."
Citing the example of IIT Roorkee where 73 students were dismissed in their first year because of low grades, the statement stressed that 90 percent of these students belong to socially backward communities. In the last two years, the APSC states that 2462 students had dropped out and many had done so because they were unable to cope with their courses, " Without addressing the problems that make these students perform low academically, IIT administrations are covering it up by filtering or throwing them out of the system, resulting in a new form of Manu-dharma."
APSC also criticised the Modi government of spending thousands of crores in initiatives like funding foreign students and to 'corporate players' like Ambani's Jio University, "On the one hand thousands of crores is getting spent to commercialise education and on the other, the institutes are pushing out majority of the people from this country out by calling them non-meritorious and underperforming," they state. The APSC condemned the move and accused the IITs of reserving the institute for socially and economically privileged people.