Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No IIT fee hike till HEFC is set up

The Central Government has put fee hike on hold in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD), Kapil Sibal has said that the proposal to hike fees will have to wait till the government sets up the Higher Education Finance Corporation (HEFC). This would ensure that a higher tuition fee does not disadvantage students who are not financially able. For the time being, the ministry has asked IITs to suggest reforms in the IIT entrance examination, improving external linkages of the institutes and raising the quality of research.

At a brainstorming session on IITs, chaired by Mr Sibal, a committee was set up under IIT Kharagpur Director Damodar Acharya to study the existing JEE and GATE exam and suggest possibilities of improvement. The committee will submit its report in three months. It is expected to suggest on how to consider the Class XII marks of students while preparing the cut-off for admission. At present, students are required to score 60% in their class XII board examinations for their JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) results to be considered. At the last meeting of IIT Council, the apex body to decide on IIT matters, discussions were held on giving more weightage to marks obtained in school-leaving examinations while selecting students.

The meeting, attended by the IIT directors and chairmen, however, did not take any decision on the proposal to increase the tuition fee of students to make the institutes self-sufficient. Mr. Sibal said that a proposal to increase tuition fee would be taken up only after the government sets up the HEFC. This proposed corporation would provide assistance to economically disadvantaged students. IIT Kanpur had prepared a detailed proposal on hiking the tuition fee. At present, B.Tech. students pay Rs. 50,000 per year as fee. The proposal suggested increasing the fee to Rs. 400,000 per annum over a period of 10 years.

The minister asked each IIT to indicate, in four weeks, in which area/field they would want to achieve the highest standards by 2020. The new IITs have been given two months to prepare their roadmap. These IITs have been asked to give a roadmap for compensation that will attract the best faculty from India and abroad and also to give incremental infrastructure development plans for this aim. They have been asked to involve PAN IIT system. Prof. Anand Krishnan will head the committee which would co-ordinate this.

Source: The Economic Times, February 5, 2010

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