IITians seek debate on ‘business’ of higher education


Chennai: A section of B.Tech and Ph.D students at IIT Madras took out a rally inside the institute on Thursday to protest fees hike and privatisation of education in the country.
Initially students gathered at Central Lecture Theatre (CLT) near the administration block at 3 pm for a panel discussion on privatisation of higher education in which eminent economist V.B. Athreya took part and spoke about privatisation.
After the panel discussion, about 100 B.Tech and Ph.D students took out a rally from CLT building to main gate with placards with slogans like ‘fees hike down, down’, ‘is it Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) or Private Institute of Technology (PIT)’, ‘roll back fees hike and don’t implement Kakodkar committee’s report in IITs’.
Raj Pranab, a Ph.D research scholar, said IIT administration had hiked the annual tuition fee from Rs 50,000 to Rs 90,000 for undergraduate courses based on Anil Kakodkar committee’s recom­mendation.
“Why should the IIT administration imple­ment such a steep fee hike when education is provided free in foreign countries?  “The Kakodkar committee too has recommended hike from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh, in which we don’t see any rationale”, he said.
Suresh, another postgraduate student, questioned when IITs had failed to implement other recommendations made by the Kakodkar committee why the administration must hike the fees.
Asked for his comments, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras,  pointed out that it was not only IIT Madras which hiked the fees but all other IITs too had effected the fee hike. 
“For the last 15 years we never had a fee hike and now we have hiked hostel fees for research scholars from  Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 however the scholarship for Ph.D student too has gone up three times and now they get Rs 18,000 per month and MS students get Rs 8,000 per month. I don’t see any reason for the protest”, he said.

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