New Delhi: Two days after MTech students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi launched a protest against their fees being more than doubled, the institute has partially rolled back the hike.
However, a number of students told ThePrint Friday that they weren’t satisfied with the partial rollback, since they had already paid the increased fees, and no refund has been announced for this.
The board of the institute, according to an earlier statement by officials, had hiked the fee for its MTech programme from Rs 24,650 to Rs 53,100 and the fee for full-time PhD students from Rs 20,150 to Rs 30,850 for the academic year 2022-23.
In an email sent to students Friday afternoon, which ThePrint has seen, IIT Delhi announced its decision to partially roll back these hikes. MTech students will now have to pay around Rs 40,000 and PhD students around Rs 26,000 per annum.
“The chairperson, BoG [Board of Governors] has accorded his approval to the recommendations of the committee constituted by the director to look into the fee hike issue, as per which it has been decided that the enhancement of the fee made for the new students with effect from 2nd semester 2021-22 will be revised,” the email read.
Over 200 MTech students of the premier institute had launched a protest on campus Wednesday, demanding a refund. Those part of the protest said the increased fees could not only impact their own career plans, but also trigger a fee hike in other public engineering universities.
Responding to their demands, IIT Delhi officials formed a committee to look into the matter and submit a report in this regard to the board.
Just last month, IIT Bombay had to roll back a fee hike in the face of protests by students.
Students unhappy with partial rollback
Students pursuing MTech and PhD degrees at IIT Delhi say that despite the partial rollback, the increased fee continues to be a huge financial burden for them.
A first-year MTech student told ThePrint that even after the rollback, the fee hike is proving to be a “huge financial burden” for him and could “permanently alter” his career goals.
“I wish to pursue a PhD after my master’s degree so that I can become a professor at IIT. I don’t intend to sit for placements but pursue further studies,” he said.
The 24-year-old — the only one from his family to have made it to an IIT — added that his family can’t afford to pay so much, and that he doesn’t want to burden them by asking them to pay such an “exorbitant fee”.
“The hostel and living expenses alone amount to about one lakh. I am hoping that the institute will consider rolling back the hike,” the student, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region, had told ThePrint prior to the partial rollback Friday.
Other students, too, felt that while obtaining an education loan is easy for them, the option isn’t sustainable in the long run, especially for those who wish to pursue their PhDs.
A PhD student affected by the fee hike said while the fee had been hiked, her stipend amount was still only around Rs 30,000. “The rollback has barely reduced the burden for us. We are unhappy with it,” she said.
Adding that she had now decided to join the protest until the fee hike is rolled back in its entirety, she further said, “We pursue our research with the aid of the stipend that institutes provide to us. On the one hand, where the fee had been increased, the stipend amount remained unchanged. How were we to buy our books and continue research?”
Moreover, the fee hike has led to concerns that it could trigger a similar increase in the fees of other premium and private engineering colleges.
“After IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi hiked its fee. Watching these trends, state universities and other public engineering colleges could have started increasing their fees as well. But it is important to note that students from these institutes do not get the kind of packages that students from IITs do,” said a second-year MTech student who did not wish to be named.
“Imagine having to take a loan of Rs 20 lakh for a master’s degree and getting a package of Rs 3-5 lakhs after. How will such students repay the loan?”
Support for IIT-D students
Prior to the institute’s decision to roll back the fee hike, student organisations from across the country had shown their solidarity with the protest at IIT-Delhi.
“Fees in many IITs and other universities are being substantially increasing over the years (sic). This indicates that affordable public education is under attack at many places. If education in these important public institutions keeps becoming expensive, a huge mass of the population will be denied access to quality education…..We reiterate our support for the students at IIT Delhi protesting against the fee hike…,” said a statement issued by students of IIT-Bombay Thursday.
Aishe Ghosh, former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), too, issued a statement in support of the protest.
“The fee hike in IIT Delhi is going to affect the new entrants the worst. If students’ demands at this point are not considered, many students belonging to low-income and marginalised groups would be forced to withdraw from their respective programmes, which will be a shame for the institute,” Ghosh had said.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
Source: The Print