Steep Fee Hike in IIT: Commercialising Education, BJP Style

Salonee Shital

The standing committee of the IIT council has accepted the recommendation of an expert panel to hike the annual fee by three folds. The revised fee would be 3 lakhs per annum amounting to 12 lakhs for a four year B.Tech course. The campus of IIT-Delhi remains as indifferent as ever. There is no unrest and hardly anyone is talking about about the issue. Few IIT students that I talked to said that this decision was taken by directors and the government has nothing to do with it.Most of the students feel like fee rise is necessary for maintaining the quality of education. Some of them also referred to the merit cum means scholarships and persisted that only about 50% students pay full fees. So overall the students do not see it as an outrageous attack on their right to education . Most people today cite education loan as the solution to fee hike. But the nexus between the banking sector and the elite decision makes goes unquestioned.If one contrasts with the occupyUGC movement, it becomes obvious that a certain section of students have become indifferent to education policies, while the other half remains persistent in its struggles and endeavours. OccupyUGC successfully rolled back the UGC dictate of discontinuation of Non-NET fellowship.

Fee hike in IITIn recent times there also has been a continued effort from different sides to discredit publicly funded universities to privatize higher education on the large scale. They have called these institutions as “naxal zones” and home to maoist sympathisers. There has been a public opinion generated against higher education in general. The skill India campaign for example emphasis on developing skills, while education is made a trade able good, affordable only by the rich. The amount of money that goes into the education sector is minuscule. Progressive student movements have time and again asked for at least 10% of the budget share to be allocated to education sector which has never been realised. India lags significantly behind when it comes to scholarly publications and quality research.Public opinion today is against public funded education after the JNU row. In fact a student from IIT Khargpur maintained that in absence of the rise “IITs would become like Jharkhand Central University”.

How could India possibly dream of achieving its development goals with an uneducated population? Can we become a great power by importing knowledge and technology from the west? Can we expect a generation of professionals that enter into the work force with a huge loan be expected to be carefree and happy?
Student politics has been shown in a bad light and students are being asked to be “good kids” and focus only on their studies and not to raise political questions or raise their voices against unfavourable government policies. Seems like they got their wish, because one of the brightest minds of the country are only concerned with getting their degrees and jobs abroad. They have stopped questioning.We live in a society where institutionalized murder of a dalit student does not affect other students. Is it something to celebrate a section of students is so apolitical that it does not take a stand on anything. However the picture is not so grey after the after the Ambedkar study circle incident in IIT Madras, IIT fraternity did came forward in their support. Today we need more Rohith Vemulas and more JNUs.


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