Research suffers and aspirants for Indian Institutes of Technology lose out when MTech students leave their course midway for jobs. That’s the opinion Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B).
There are 23 IITs in the country, with a total of 72,000 students. Around 14,000 MTech students are enrolled in these institutes.
According to a professor from the electrical engineering department at IIT-B, as many as 40%-45% students from the department leave the MTech course midway. “These students block seats, which would have otherwise gone to those who actually want to study. The MTech programme is for those who want to do research,” he said, on the condition of anonymity.
The opinion at IIT-B is that for many students, the MTech course is a means towards better employment prospects, rather than an opportunity to study and do research at one of the most premier institutes in the country.
“There are three categories of students who desert the course in lieu of a PSU job. Those who plan to get a job at PSUs, but are studying MTech just as a back-up plan; those who take up a job as they are unable to handle the pressure of academics at IITs; and those who end up accepting a job offer owing to pressure from family,” said a second year MTech student at IIT-B, on the condition of anonymity.
Admissions to the IIT MTech programme take place through the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), the score for which is also used by PSUs for recruitment. GAIL, ONGC and SAIL are said to be among the PSUs that offer jobs to MTech students from IITs, with the recruitment process for most PSUs continuing well after the admissions are over.
“We don’t want to waste a year if we don’t get a job,” said a first year MTech student at IIT-B, who is also eying a PSU job and is willing to leave the institute if he’s offered one.
The salaries offered by PSUs is also a big factor that influences the decision. “Some PSUs offer annual packages around Rs13-Rs14 lakh. Such packages are hard to get even after two years of MTech,” said the first-year student, who did not wish to be named.
However, there are a few exceptions. A second-year MTech student, who spoke to HT, said he turned down an opportunity to work at the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and preferred to do research at IIT-B instead. “Students should realise that the opportunities offered by IITs are not available at PSUs,” he said.