Friday, May 13, 2011

Fee hike in IITs? Sibal non-committal

Asked to rework its earlier report on road map for autonomy and future of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Anil Kakodkar panel has stood by its earlier recommendation that could result in a substantial fee hike at the undergraduate level. The committee made a presentation of its reworked report on Thursday. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal remained non-committal, and said the final decision would be taken by the IIT Council later. The report would be put in the public domain on Friday.

Laying out the roadmap for research, the panel has said that Ph.D. students should be scaled up from the current 1,000 Ph.D. students per year to 10,000 by 2020-25. It has also said that bright undergraduate students should be enrolled for Ph.D. at the end of their third year. Even faculty strength should be ramped up to 16,000 in the next 10 years. The present strength is 4,000.

The Kakodkar committee has said that 50 central government-funded institutions — other than IITs — be nurtured with the help of IIT faculty. These institutions could be National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and other institutions.

The reworked report reiterates that IITs should “recover the full operational cost of education” through fee and not take any aid from government’s non-plan budget. Since this would result in a manifold rise in fee, the committee has suggested a “hassle-free” bank loan arrangement at the time of admission.

But for students belonging to reserved category and economically weaker sections, the panel has said the ministry should pay the “full operating cost of education”. It added that the ministry should also take care of the entire cost of education at Ph.D., M.S. and M.Tech. level.

The committee has proposed that government should make an annual outlay of Rs. 150,000 per student in established IITs. For the new ones, an endowment grant of Rs. 50 crore (Rs. 500 million) per IIT should be given over the next five years. To expand infrastructure, the panel has said government should give capital fund at the rate of Rs. 2 million per additional student.

Source: The Times of India, May 13, 2011

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