IITs bite the bullet to curb high dropout rate for M Tech courses

Record dropout rate in IITs; council hikes course fee, stops Mtech stipend
The IITs will stop the monthly stipend of Rs 12,400 given to MTech scholars.

New Delhi: M.Tech programmes at IITs record a dropout rate of over 50 per cent as students treat the courses as a stopgap arrangement till they land a job or crack a competitive exam, IIT-Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao said. He termed the recent hike in course fee a "surgical strike" on "uninterested" students. He believes the IIT Council's decision to hike the fee for M.Tech programmes will fix the problem of wastage of much sought after seats at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and save government funds. The IITs will also stop the monthly stipend of Rs 12,400 given to MTech scholars.

"The freebies we have been doling out with taxpayers' money to students who are uninterested and into systems which have become unaccountable need to stop at some point," he said. "Many students take admission into the M.Tech programmes and over 50 per cent of them quit as soon as they find a job," he said. Among the remaining ones, many prepare for other competitive examinations and have no interest in what they are pursuing, said Rao, who is also a member of the IIT Council, the highest decision-making body on all the 23 IITs.

He said this leads to wastage of the Country's precious resources. "Over 50 per cent dropouts in masters programmes today in IITs only means that students value the jobs they get after their B.Tech more than the career they can build with their M.Tech degrees. How can we spend taxpayers' money to offer free education to them, when they themselves see no value in such an education? " He said this was an "alarming" situation.

"And obviously, a surgical strike was needed. I am happy that the Ministry and the Council took such a bold decision," he added. The IIT Council led by Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' had on Friday approved a proposal to hike the fee of the masters programme and bring it to the level of the B.Tech courses. The decision was taken on recommendations of a three-member committee on reforms on M.Tech programme in IITs. "The committee had recommended proactive increase in the MTech fee and bringing it at least to the level of BTech fee (Rs 2 lakh per year) over the next three years. Simultaneously the needy students will be supported directly by the government through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) or arranging educational loans," a senior HRD Ministry official had said.