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Monday, November 21, 2011

128 - 1986 batch to give IIT students a professional counselling service - Indian Express


Posted: Mon Nov 21 2011, 02:49 hrs

To address the academic and psychological problems faced by students of IIT Bombay, the focus of the institute’s 1986 batch will be to establish a dedicated “counselling services programme”. The initiative is part of the legacy project of the 1986 batch, titled “student quality of life improvement”. The former students are getting together next month for their silver jubilee reunion.

“With increase in student suicide rates, there is an immediate need to address academic, emotional and psychological attributing factors faced by the students. Accordingly, there is a need to establish and enhance a professional counselling service programme at IIT Bombay,” said Sandeep Pandya from the 1986 batch, who is also treasurer of the IIT Bombay Heritage Fund (IITBHF).

The programme, says a white paper on the project, will look at recruiting professional, high-quality medical/psychological counsellors and creating a collaborative programme to leverage expertise and assistance from top medical/psychological institutes in Mumbai. It will also focus on formalising and providing mentoring services through the alumni community to help with career counseling and industry mentoring.

The batch aims to raise Rs 2.25 crore for their legacy project, where 50 per cent of the contributions are expected to come alumni in India and the rest from those abroad. “The 1986 batch legacy is to strengthen existing and create new programmes related to students and is the first batch to adopt this approach,” says the white paper.

Part of the project will look at strengthening the existing “financial aid programme (FAP)” for needy students of IIT Bombay. “The FAP has been successful over the past five years since its founding. The programme has issued 870 loans to over 480 students, disbursing Rs 1.7 crore. There’s an immediate need to fund this project as intake of needy students is increasing. In addition, there is a government proposal on the table to potentially increase IIT tuition fees in the coming years, further posing financial challenge to students,” said Nilesh Vani from the 1986 batch.

Accordingly, the former students will continue to support the project and create a growing endowment. “We are very happy that the 1986 batch has decided to support the financial aid programme which had been initiated by the 1981 batch and aims to make IIT education financially available to everyone. This will help the programme grow into a huge, sustainable project in years to come,” said Bakul Desai, member of the board of directors, IIT Bombay Alumni Association (IITBAA).