Kakodkar fix-it: IIT fee hike only a part of the story

The 80 percent fee hike in IITs is part of a larger revamp plan to raise the quality of education and capacity in India’s premier technology institutions. Also on the anvil, along with higher fees, are a better faculty-to-student ratio; higher emphasis on research, innovation and entrepreneurship and support by ministry of human resources.

The 11-member Kakodkar committee, which submitted its report in April 2011, said the fees charged by the IIT should cover the full operational cost of education, which is about 30 percent of the total cost.

 Kakodkar fix-it: IIT fee hike only a part of the story

IIT Mumbai Campus. AFP

While the hikes made headlines, what went unnoticed were several other progressive suggestions aimed at strengthening not only the IITs, but also the overall pool of engineers and researchers in the country. They included recommendations that the human resources ministry should fully fund all post graduate students and undergraduate students from weaker sections of society.

Students, whose parents earn less than Rs 4.5 lakh per year, will get scholarships covering 100 percent fees and a monthly stipend, and those who re-enter IITs as post graduate students and faculty will get incentives such as deferment and proportional repayment of loans. Support from the government in the form of 20 percent overheads on R&D projects from ministries, grants, industrial consultancy and royalty are some other schemes to shore up the IIT finances.

The report also touches upon the quality of technical education in India. It said the country produced about 500,000 engineers in a year that would rise to a million soon; however the industry found a large number of them unemployable. The country also had a very low base on research although IITs accounted for bulk of the PhD students. It had only 1000 PhD students in a year, which was only one percent of the total number of undergraduate students that the IITs produced. The comparable numbers in China and the US were 8000-9000.

The capacity of the institutions also need to be augmented considerably. While the best technology institutions in the world trained more than 15,000 students annually, the IITs’ capacity was only 6000. To improve the situation, the committee suggested establishing five more IITs, raising the number of annual students to 10,000, raising the number of faculty from 500 to 1200. The country should produce at least 12,000 PhDs, most of whom coming from the IITs, the committee said

It also wanted 10:1 faculty-to-student and 1:1 PG-to-UG ratios.

The committee, which was established in February 2010, comprised technical and human resources experts. After extensive consultations with various stakeholders, the committee submitted its report to union human resources minister Kapil Sibal.

Read the full report here: http://www.iitmandi.ac.in/administration/files/officialdocs/Kakodkar%20Committee%20Report%20May%2013%202011.pdf

Updated Date: Jan 08, 2013 10:22:37 IST