New Delhi: The list of challenges for Indian Institutes of Technology, or IITs, to implement reservations for less privileged classes just got longer.
In the latest development, the ministry of human resource development has asked all the IITs, which are mentoring six new IITs, to admit students for a year-long preparatory course targeted towards the new institutes to fill up vacant quota seats, a decision the institutes had put on hold for a year for want of better infrastructure.
The ministry asked the IITs in a Tuesday night meeting to put up students for the prep course as a way to fill the seats, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting’s proceedings. “We have asked them to do this from this year itself so that no seats are wasted,” this person said on condition of anonymity.
The development comes barely a fortnight after Mint first reported on 24 July that the six new IITs had decided not to admit students for the preparatory course this year.
To read the 24 July story click here
While the older IITs have also faced the problem of finding enough students who qualify for reserved seats in the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, or ST, categories, this is the first time that slots would have gone vacant at the six new IITs.
Unfilled seats at the older IITs have continued to be filled by students who had failed to qualify, but had then been admitted to a year-long preparatory course; these students are later admitted to the IITs.
For this academic year, the mentor IITs had postponed admissions for the preparatory course to next year, fearing an additional burden on infrastructure.
At the new IITs, only seven out of 54, or 12%, of the seats reserved for ST students have been filled. In the IITs in Patna, Gandhinagar and Orissa, no ST student has been admitted for the academic session that began in August.
The proposed IITs in Punjab and Rajasthan have admitted one student each, whereas IIT Hyderabad has five ST students.
With the new guidelines from the ministry, which oversees education, the elite institutes are again in a fix. “Most new IITs have begun classes. Any new directive on more students is going to make things more difficult and we are really bursting at the seams,” an IIT director said, requesting anonymity. “We have to attend to two institutes with the infrastructure of one IIT.”
Notably, the respective state governments have not come up with specific sites for the IITs at Punjab, Rajasthan and Orissa, which is why theseIITs have commenced their classes at their mentor IITs at Kanpur, Delhi and Kharagpur, respectively.
IIT Patna, Gandhinagar and Hyderabad have been set up on temporary campuses.