New Delhi: The government has decided to effect a conditional fourfold increase in the education fee for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to Rs 8 lakh.
The increased amount will, however, be recovered in a staggered manner after the student is employed. For this, the IITs will enter into a tripartite agreement with the employing company and the graduate.
The fee hike, to be implemented from 2013 in all the 15 IITs across the country, will, however, exclude students belonging to scheduled castes/tribes and other backward classes with parental income less than Rs 4.5 lakh per year.
As an incentive, the increased fees will also be waived for those who skip the job market and prefer academics.
The government has effectively signalled its willingness, going forward, to do away with wholesale subsidized education.
The decision was taken at the IIT council meeting comprising officials from the IITs and human resource development (HRD) ministry officials.
“There has been demand for a blanket increase of fees for students, but we have decided not to burden those who are falling under the underprivileged category,” HRD minister Kapil Sibal said after the IIT council meeting in Delhi on Wednesday. The minister confirmed that the increase will come into effect in two years.
Sibal said that education of each BTech student costs the IITs around Rs 8 lakh for the entire four-year period—implying a subsidy of Rs 6 lakh.
The HRD ministry took its cue from a government panel, which recommended an increase in tuition fee for IIT students from an annual Rs 50,000 to Rs 2-2.5 lakh (Rs 8-10 lakh over four years) to help the premier schools improve their standards, both in terms of physical and intellectual infrastructure. At the BTech level, the IITs admit nearly 10,000 students every year after a national-level entrance that tests around 500,000 students every year.
The IITs will have an agreement with employers for repaying the additional fees, Sibal said.
“The moment the students gets a job, the institutes will have an arrangement with the employers to reimburse the extra money from their salary on an instalment basis,” he said.
The government is creating an electronic database for all students to help manage the system.
Waiving the fee for those pursuing academics will also help quadruple the faculty base of the IITs from 4,000 to 16,000 in a decade, besides giving research a boost, the minister said.
“By 2020, we are planning to admit at least 10,000 students in the postgraduate and research category of IITs to boost the research and development facility in the country,” Sibal added. “The move is to make IITs research-oriented organizations from the current undergraduate focus.”
Currently, there are around 1,000 students in these categories, according to HRD ministry data.
Experts welcomed the move.
“The fee should be in line with the cost of education. Hiking the fee is good as it will make the IITs financially a little better and less dependent on government funding,” said Bharat Gulia, senior manager (education practice) at consulting firm Ernst and Young.
The decision should, however, be practically implemented so that employers aren’t discouraged by a complicated process, he said.
IIT students were sceptical about the decision.
“Many students have family responsibilities. To deduct a portion of the salary will definitely pinch,” said an IIT Delhi student who didn’t want to be named. Another pointed out that IIT graduates who move on to management school may be able to unfairly claim a fee waiver.
Sibal reiterated that the IIT council was deliberating on a single entrance exam for all engineering colleges by 2013.
“We are examining it, but it needs the approval of the state education ministers and the Central Advisory Board of Education,” he said. “We have two years’ time and hopefully, we will reach there.”
There may be political resistance from the states against such a move.
“We will see whether this single entrance exam is for all central government-run engineering colleges or all colleges across the country,” he said.
The various admission tests include the IIT-Joint Entrance Exam (JEE), state-level JEEs, and a central-level all-India entrance examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education for 30 National Institutes of Technology and some architecture institutes in the country.
The council also approved a new campus for IIT Delhi in Haryana.