INDIAN INSTITUTE of Technology (IIT) students from across the country may soon revive their protest against the decision taken by the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry in September to hike MTech fees tenfold and also discontinue stipend to students.
The call for collective protests was made by IIT-BHU students, who held an agitation on Thursday, a day before Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal visited the campus for the convocation ceremony.
In video| MTech fee hike row
“While we are being treated as customers who avail the MTech course, the college decides to welcome the HRD minister. Around 50 of us gathered to protest. The administration tried to corner us saying it will call our parents,” said a student.
In solidarity with IIT-BHU, students of IIT-Bombay also held a protest at their campus on Thursday. “The revised fees is even higher than tuition fee in self-financing institutions. The rationale of IIT council to increase the fee and discontinue the stipend was reported to be measures (taken) to check students using IIT seats for ‘parking’ themselves before joining a public sector undertaking. This is dubious,” a statement by IIT-Bombay students said.
It added, “The above concern can be easily addressed either by not allowing PSUs to recruit from GATE or the PSUs can recruit before the admissions to IITs begin or appointment to PSUs made through a single-window alongside the admission to different IITs.”
“We have decided to set up a group called ‘Students of IIT Against MTech Reforms’ where all IITians would participate. We are also trying to connect to GATE aspirants who protested at Jantar Mantar,” said an IIT-Bombay student.
“We had submitted a proposal to HRD secretary R Subrahmanyam regarding the stipend issue. While he assured us that he is working on the issue, the council has decided to stop giving stipend altogether. We will submit a letter to the director seeking approval to hold a silent protest. We are in the process of connecting all IITs and colleges over social media platforms,” said a student from IIT-Delhi.
Due to ongoing exams, students of IIT-Madras could not hold a protest. However, a statement issued by them said, “On one side, the Modi government is spending huge money to commercialise higher education in the name of promoting ‘world class institutes’. On the other side, this is pushing out majority people of this country from higher education, calling them non-meritorious and underperforming. Fee hike and stipend cut will reserve education in IITs for only the socially and economically privileged.”