Engineering education in India is set to undergo a massive change with IITs deciding to open up for ‘outsiders’ and increase its student intake up to 1 lakh. On Tuesday, the IIT Council chaired by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar approved the proposal to increase their student strength to 1 lakh over the next three years. The change will apply to all undergraduate and post-graduate programmes of IITs. The increase in student strength is a part of Modi government’s vision of positioning IITs among the best institutes across the world. The present move will certainly have a long last lasting effect on engineering education in India.
Here we present 10 things about what this change entails and how it will impact the IITs:
1. Does IITs aim to admit 1 lakh students every year?
No. The proposed change is only about increasing the overall strength of the institute.
2. What is the present student strength at IITs?
Presently, there are about 72,000 students in 23 IITs across the country.
3. How will the proposed change rollout?
The IITs have been asked to decide how many seats they can start adding from the next year as per their resources like faculty and infrastructure. The IITs collectively aim to add 4,000 BTech seats each year till 2020 and 6,000 MTech and research seats each year over the next three years.
4. What about hostels?
As per the proposed change, IITs aim to open its doors for non-resident students, by waiving the condition that makes it mandatory for students to stay on campus at present. This means students will have the freedom to attend classes even from their homes if they live in the same city as their college and thus save the money spent on hostel and food.
5. Is this a good move?
The overall effect of the proposed seat increase and allowing non-residents to study at the prestigious institutes would be known in some years. For now, it opens up an exciting opportunity for engineering aspirants as more of them won’t have to knock the doors of private or other colleges now.
6. Are IITs equipped to handle these many students?
IITs are facing faculty shortage to the tune of over 2000. With an increase in student intake, the pressure on existing faculty and infrastructure will increase further. To address this, IITs and the Union government will have to act fast to maintain the value of ‘Brand IIT’. Last month, Javadekar had said that Modi Govt is committed to position IITs among the best institutes of the globe, he said. Referring to the 2000 faculty vacancies in all the IITs, he expressed confidence of it being filled with enthusiastic researchers within.
7. What other proposals were passed by the IIT Council?
The IIT Council approved the launch of ‘PM Research Fellowship’ for about 1,000 BTech students. Under the programme, the engineering graduates will register for PhD immediately after finishing their course. The scheme aims to reverse the brain drain as students will have research options within the country. The council also decided to introduce a three-week induction course to help new students adjust when they join the IITs.
8. What about the project ‘Vishwajeet’?
‘Vishwajeet’ proposes to provide additional support and funds to IITs, especially the top seven — Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee and Guwahati — so that they can reach the top 100 in Global University ranks by 2018 and top 50 by 2020. However, no decision could be taken on this on Tuesday.
9. Any proposal on increasing the number of girl students on IIT campuses?
The Joint Admission Board of IITs has set up a committee to explore ways to increase the enrolment of girls. As per reports, there was a 2% decrease in the number of girls who passed Jee Advanced this year. Also, none of the girls made it to the top 100.
10. Will increased intake lower the quality of education at IITs?
It may unless IITs improve faculty strength and become more innovative in imparting education at the earliest. If the premier institutes aim to beat the best in the world over the coming years, it can’t afford to carry on with the conventional methods of classroom teaching which often bore the students, putting them out of the classrooms.