The IITs will open their doors for “non-resident” students, with a goal to increase their number of seats to 100,000 by 2020.
The country’s top tech institutes have around 72,000 students in their undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate courses, and all of them stay in hostels. But the IIT Council, the highest decision-making body of the institutes, decided on Tuesday to admit day scholars who can study from home or stay in a rented place outside the campus.
Another aim is to put research on the forefront, for which students will be allowed to do a PhD right after BTech, deviating from the practice of permitting only postgraduates to do doctorate programmes.
Besides, a prime minister’s fellowship of Rs 60,000 a month for five years will be given to around 1,000 students to do research in IITs.
“IITs are our modern temples. Bright IITians prefer to go abroad to do research because they get fellowships and better facilities,” said human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar, who presided over the meeting.
“We want to provide facilities in IITs so that research could be carried out in India. We want to convert brain drain into brain gain.”
The plan is to increase the number of seats by 10,000 a year until 2020 by admitting non-resident students. Ideally, there would be an increase of 4,000 seats in undergraduate courses and 6,000 in postgraduate and PhD seats.
The 23 IITs in the country will assess their infrastructure and faculty strength to decide how much more students they can admit without stressing resources.
Officials said a number of students will be allowed to study as day scholars, without hostel accommodation. Such students will have to find accommodation outside the campus, or travel from home if their institute is located in their hometown.
“This is something that is being worked out whether we will be able to arrange something for them or have tie-ups with paying guest accommodations, or students will be asked to take care of they stay,” an official said.
Javadekar promised a drive to fill up teacher vacancies so that an increase in the number of students doesn’t affect the quality of teaching.
Another decision taken by the council is to introduce a three-week induction course to allow students to adapt to their new environment, take up courses on languages and creative arts, and bond with classmates as well as faculty members. Classes will commence only after the induction course.
The IIT Council has also approved a pilot run of a national aptitude test, which will be voluntary in nature and will not have a bearing on engineering admissions.
To improve their stature, the council cleared a project in which seven IITs — Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee and Guwahati— will be assisted to help break into the top 100 universities in the global university ranking by 2018. At present, no IIT features on the list.