900% fee hike & zero stipend in M.tech: Detrimenal to research & higher education in India

900% fee hike & zero stipend in M.tech: Detrimenal to research & higher education in India

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Subham singh started this petition to MHRD, IIT Council, All IIT Directors, PMO and

We all Alumni IIT students and research scholars of India request the IIT Directors IIT council and MHRD to kindly revise their recent decision on M.tech course and appeal to the government to interfere into it as soon as possible. In pursuit of keeping the pace of research and development intact in our country without making our economic disability as a reason to stop us, we stand united and determined to gently disagree and ask for the right justice for us by our authorities and the government.

Decisions taken in regards to M.tech course: Impact & other possible solutions

Questions

Was it the only possible idea to stop the stipend and increase the fee all of a sudden in such an economically weak society as India in order to achieve good research and avoid dropouts that too without taking the opinion of IIT students?

The students work on projects that are funded by external parties and generate knowledge, which encashes the organization. Why the students working on it shouldn’t be paid?

Won't this sudden decision lessen the students entering IIT, and their interest in day and night working on projects?

Arguments
This surgical strike on a few non-serious students also comes to be a backbone breaker for the economically deprived students too. 

Discussion
If we are comparing ourselves with MIT & Harvard, we should also keep in mind that a major portion of the Indian population is either poor or middle class. After completing B.tech mostly parents want their children to work to earn some money. But, many of those who want to do good in academics, either research/teaching or PhD in future, they manage to come to IIT in order to realize their dream. And the stipend was a determining factor for all those incapable people to have an opportunity at IIT who were compelled to work after B.tech or didn’t have money to go to Kota or Delhi to prepare for JEE in coachings. This may lead to less number of students opting for M.tech. Only those who have enough money can see their dreams coming true. Even after this, they will be compelled to be under high stress and in a rush to anyhow complete the degree and get a job due to financial constraints. The suicide rates in students pursuing higher education in these organisations are already at an alarming rate. One can look at the recent examples in IIT Delhi, IISC Bangalore etc.

 

Discussion
After already spending lacs of rupees in B.tech, higher fee and no stipend with heavy academic and research work stress (as common in IITs) along with no or fewer job opportunities that too in non-core areas will lead to higher frustration and dissatisfaction compelling the students to migrate.
In such a scenario when placements are inadequate to satisfy the students, higher fees for those who already have spent a lot in their bachelors will compel them more to anyhow complete the degree and focus on getting jobs to deposit their loans. This will deviate them away from what is our motto. i.e research. Research spirit is intuitive, it cant be induced by force more than a certain level. Hence its better that during M.tech or P.hd interviews, there should be a psychological evaluation where we can assess the student about his motto to join the program. Not only M.tech but PhD and B.tech students also prepare for IAS/IES/SSC, so there should be no such point as long as the students are fulfilling the degree requirements and passing the exams well and delivering the expected results in their projects. This intent of preparation also arises due to a lack of trust in IIT’s. Steps to correct this are required, like better facilities and infra, updated course structure, focus on real-world issues and solving industrial problems, practical knowledge and trainings. 

The problem statement (What lies in our system)
IITs are lacking in the research as well as placement aspects. The reputation is still there which attracts students for admission. But they don’t find enough confidence or trust in the college to find what they had intended. As per a report by national employability report for engineers (Annual Report 2016), only 24.57% of the tier 1 colleges are employable.  Some students come with research spirit while some come with an intent to have placements. But the admission process including the interviews for both type of students is the same. The training or the education given to them is of the same nature. Is it right and justified? It is good but not suitable for both. IITs have to be clear in their intent of taking admissions, 
If taking for research, there should be a separate psychometric interview/evaluation to verify their candidature and get their insight and vision about the researches they can do.
If taking to make them fit for the industry, their mathematical, reasoning, managerial and other capabilities have to be taken care of while taking their entrance. Evidently, they may also be given a different training/education than those who come only for research as well as a different fee 
structure.
Anyone who publishes the research paper/contributes significantly to the project or fulfils the degree requirements gets the fee return & those who are financially very weak can get TA irrespective of no. of research papers.

What can/could have been done?
If our intent was to increase the research, and increasing the number of publications, instead of revoking the scholarship we could have tried the following solutions which is better in terms of fulfilling our objectives.

Solution 1

We could have increased the fee by multiple times and continued the scholarship with some increment in it too. 
The students could take a loan and then the monthly expenses would have been taken care of by the stipend.
May be we would have kept a criterion that only those who publish at least one research/review article in a reputed journal/complete other degree requirements they will get the full fee waved off. Or the same applies to those who want to do a startup on their research area (the startup proposal duly approved by the organisation).
In parallel to this: we need to ensure the best placements in order to provide these students surety and confidence enough to remain focused in their areas of research without bothering 
much about career and other alternatives like SSC/IAS/IES.
Consequences of this decision:
• The same financial scarcity turns out to be the reason to be motivated towards research & startups in order to avoid paying the loan amount.
• The research output will increase.
• A positive self-motivating ecosystem of research will prevail in students unlike now.
• No exclusion of talents on grounds of financial burden.

Solution 2

increase the CGPA criteria, Increase the project deliverables. 
The students with no research output or absolutely ceasing to perform as per desired could be given a degree of ME(Master of Engineering) or PGDE (Post Grad. Diploma in Engineering) within one year as done in case of B.tech. (maybe with no or 50% stipend and slightly higher fee)

Solution 3

Legal agreements or initial deposit to be returned to the students completing the degree requirements. 


Conclusion:
• We need to keep strict criteria on the quality output and the factors affecting it, not money.
• We need to be clear while taking interviews whether we have to move towards research or industry-oriented training to be clear what direction we are going to focus.
• We need to ensure the best placements to avoid student’s worries which stop them from focusing on anything and at the end, they look for alternate ways.
• These amendments are mutually supporting blending and synergistic to each other.
• Good focused research/ industry-based education of students due to criterions fixed for them will enhance their candidature for getting placed and the enhanced placements are going to fetch more and more talents to IITs next year in pursuit of a better career and hence again more research output.
• This will be a more positive and self-motivating system to motivate the students so as to perform well as compared to the recent existing reforms which look more like a forceful punishment.
• Enhanced faith of students & boundation of criterions in IIT system & hence less dropout.

Gentle requests & demands
Take back this decision,
Revise the stipend and focus on quality at each step.
we are not only responsible so we shouldn't suffer.
Take back the words, Non-serious and surgical strike.
Implement better solutions and with the consent of present students and after a wide discussion.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!