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Friday, May 5, 2017

IIT-D may revise curriculum to take pressure off students - Hindu

NEW DELHI MAY 04, 2017 00:00 IST

Move aimed at addressing suicidal tendencies among overstressed students

Concerned over the rising number of students’ suicide cases at IITs, the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) has decided to revise its curriculum in a way that helps them tackle study pressure effectively and keep suicidal tendencies at bay.
The move comes against the backdrop of the Ministry of Human Resource Development asking all IITs to take initiatives to stem the trend of student suicides.

Less theory
The revised curriculum, which is likely to be implemented from next year, will have reduced focus on theory and students will be offered more hands-on experience.

The departments at IIT have been asked to draft a revised curriculum, which will then be approved by the Governing Body.
“There is constant effort at the IITs to help students cope with stress, but there are always one or two suicide cases. All IITs are undertaking initiatives, but nothing seems to be enough,” IIT-D director V. Ramgopal Rao told PTI.

Mr. Rao said that in an internal survey done by IIT-D, it was found that there is a mismatch between the students’ and the institution’s expectations.

“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,” Mr. Rao said.
He added that it was important to guide students at the fresher-level because if they start developing “coldfeet” and have “backlogs”, it becomes “difficult for them to survive for another 3 years”.

“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 apply what they have learned so far,” Mr. Rao said.

Wellness centres
The IIT Council, the apex coordination body for the 23 IITs, had last week decided at a meeting chaired by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar that all IITs will have wellness centres to help students deal with mental stress; and introduce non-academic induction programmes for freshers.

The issue drew attention after the recent suicide by an IIT Kharagpur student, the third such case at the institute this year.
There is no consolidated data on the number of student suicides across IITs. However, it has been a matter of concern for previous governments as well.

In 2011, the IIT Council had decided to set up a task force to address students’ mental health needs.