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The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have been confronted with an issue of students dropping out of the Master of Technology (M.Tech) courses that are offered by them. This problem has been bothering the authorities constantly for some years now and they have been racking their brains on how to deal with it.
The data and statistics regarding the postgraduate courses at IITs revealed that a huge number of seats in the M.Tech courses of these premier technological institutes either go vacant or witness students dropping out for some reason or the other. One of the major reasons why students drop out of the courses is because they get jobs in government companies or PSUs.
The statistics have revealed that one of out every five students who take admission in the M.Tech courses at IIT Kanpur, IIT Roorkee, and IIT Ropar have left the course this year. The rate of dropouts is much higher in IIT Delhi and as many as 50 per cent of the total students enrolled leave the course. Out of the 301 students who took admission across the M.Tech courses at IIT Delhi in 2018, 74 students dropped out which left 24.58 per cent of the seats vacant. The number of vacant seats at IIT Mumbai and IIT Madras reached 45.01 per cent and 19.25 per cent respectively. In 2017, the vacant seats across the postgraduate course in the seven old IITs were 280. This was a fall from the total vacant seats in 2015 and 2016 which were high at 669 and 639 respectively. The table given below shows the number of vacant seats at these seven IITs from 2014 to 2017.
Number of M.Tech Seats Vacant in IITs
Every year, over a million students, appear for the Graduate Aptitude Test in English (GATE) which is required for getting admission in M.Tech courses as well as for securing a government job in a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU). All the IITs unanimously put the blame on the dropout rates of M.Tech courses on the unsynchronised admission process of the PSUs.
For dealing with this problem, IIT Madras formed a Common Offer Acceptance Portal (COAP) in the year 2017 under which all IITs, IISc (Indian Institute of Science), and CPSUs (the Central Public Sector Undertakings) were to recruit students at a common platform. However, only NPCIL (the Nuclear Power Corporation of Indi) participated in this process. While IIT Madras claims that it is making efforts to get more PSUs on board, the word is out that NPCIL is rethinking its participation.
The recruitment at NPCIL is done under P B Mishra who spoke on this matter and said that the process did limit the number of dropouts but could not stop it as the other PSUs had not concluded their recruitment process in the same tenure. He said that they might need to rethink their participation if this continues to happen. He further said that the high rate of dropouts is a problem for the IITs and the PSUs alike because everyone aims to get the best and top-scoring students. The result of this is that one student ends up getting several offers while another gets only a limited or, in some cases, no offers. One person can join only one PSU which also adds to the dropout ratio. Apart from that, since the offers given go really high, not many students opt for IITs and those who do, leave the course for jobs that are high paying.
The IITs are taking some more measures to combat this problem. They are planning to introduce other specialisations in M.Tech like Masters in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The institutes will also be reducing their M.Tech programmes and will keep only the most relevant ones as a part of their curriculum. Recently, a meeting was held between the IITs and the HRD Minister in which they concluded that only those courses will be offered that are demanded in the market.
Also Read: Joint Ph.D Degrees to be Offered by IITs
Some M.Tech courses of IITs will be merged with the Ph.D (Doctorate) programmes in robotics, cybersecurity, analytics, and in some new-age engineering courses will be introduced. The authorities will also work towards increasing the placement ratio of postgraduate students. As of now, only 50 percent students of the old IITs and 20 per cent students of the new IITs get placed.