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Friday, May 5, 2017

A curriculum that prevents suicide? IIT-Delhi is revamping its courses to take pressure off students - IB Times

Concerned by the rising number of suicide cases, IIT-Delhi has decided to revamp its curriculum that will include more hands-on experience than theory classes.

May 4, 2017 12:11 IST

The Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi has been dogged by a spate of suicides and attempted suicides in the past, the recent one being the case of 19-year-old Nitish Kumar Purti jumping off the balcony of his hostel room on May 3. While Purti, an Engineering Physics student at IIT-Delhi, was lucky to have survived with a few injuries, not everyone has had the same experience.

Concerned by the rising number of such cases, IIT-Delhi has decided to revamp its curriculum. The institute intends to plan a curriculum that helps students tackle the academic pressure, which in turn is likely to curb suicidal tendencies. The new curriculum that is expected to be adopted 2018 onwards will focus on more practical classes and hands-on experience rather than theory classes.

"There is a constant effort at the IITs to help students cope with stress but there are always one or two cases. All IITs are undertaking initiatives but nothing seems to be enough," IIT Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao told the Press Trust of India.

"By the time students come to IIT, they are tired of endless studying and they want to enjoy a bit. We, unfortunately, do not offer any scope for that."
He also revealed that the institute had conducted an internal survey to gauge the students' opinion about the curriculum and the general environment of the institute and it was found that the expectations that the students have were completely different from what the institute focused on.
"Hence a major rehaul was necessary to reduce the theory component and introduce more hands-on training so they can simply go to the lab and try applying what they have learnt so far," Rao added.

Students at a libraryReuters

To enhance the curriculum and take the pressure off students, all the departments of the institute have been asked to draft a revised curriculum, which will then be sent to the governing body for approval.

Apart from the curriculum, the IITs are also making efforts to take care of the general well-being of its students. Last week, the IIT Council met Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and decided to introduce wellness centres at all the 23 IITs in the country that will help students deal with academic as well as other pressures and concerns.

On April 22, a fourth year engineering student was found hanging in his IIT Kharagpur hostel room. The Aerospace Engineering student was reportedly battling depression.
"Though the Delhi institute has low instances of suicides, the problem persists in many other centres where students are under pressure from the days of studying in private coaching institutions," an IIT official told The Times of India.