Too much academic stress at IIT’s & NIT’s?

Jayita Ekka updated on : 07 Mar 2016
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Over 4,400 students have dropped out of IIT’s & NIT’s due to academic stress in the last 3 - 4 years!

In a shocking revelation by HRD Minister Smriti Irani, drop-outs at the premiere Indian Institute of Technology & Indian Institute of Management stand at an overwhelming 4,400+ students in the past few years! Cumulatively, there are about 16 IITs and 30 NITs in the country at present. While the number of students combined together amount in thousands, yet the figures of this level of intelligence leaving mid-way is alarming and cause of concern for the lawmakers, curriculum constructors and HRD Ministry.

In 2014 – 15 alone, the total number of drop-outs of IIT’s was 757, higher than the academic year of 2013 – 14 of 697. IIT Roorkee had the highest number of student drop-outs at 228, with IIT Kharagpur at a close second of 209 drop-outs and IIT Delhi at the 3rd position with 169 drop-outs.

The National Institute of Technology (NIT) fared no better. In the last 3 years, NIT has seen at least 2352 drop-outs! In 2014 – 15 alone, there was about 717 drop-outs, marginally better than 2013 – 14, with 785 drop-outs. The figure was even higher in 2012 – 2013, with 850 drop-outs.

While one might argue, that the Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc. have a similar story to tell, but have been so successful, we have to remember that that happens one in a million cases. And that is why it has become more alarming. And that poses for some disturbing questions:

  • What do these drop-outs do?
  • If they start something of their own, how successful are they holistically?
  • Where do they stand, compared to non IIT/ NIT students in the job market?
  • Could this academic pressure be one of the reasons why most engineers opt for an MBA course at the PG level?
  • Is the talent pool of engineers then being wasted (in the engineering field)?

When asked for the reasons behind the drop-outs, Ms. Irani said, “the reasons may be attributed to shifting to other colleges/institutions, personal reasons, medical reasons, getting jobs during PG courses, inability to cope with academic stress etc.” She also added saying, “There is a guidance and counselling unit, headed by a faculty member. It works closely along with a number of faculty counsellors and advisors to "identify students facing emotional difficulties and guide them to professional counsellors for help".

While, these checks are in place, the ultimate problem still remains. If academic stress is one of the major factors, then should the government/ UGC/ colleges & universities NOT find a work-around it? Maybe plan the academic curriculum that will generate better developers & engineers, focus on learning for the industry, and not make them run away!

Also, with more and more engineers opting for different fields of study post their B. Tech degree, where will we stand on the global platform, say 5 – 10 years from now? This is not to say that students graduating from other colleges are in any way less qualified to succeed in life or make India proud! But it is indeed disheartening to witness the sorry state of affairs in the engineering field. And we are talking about just the IIT’s & NIT’s here. What happens to the scores of students across other engineering colleges throughout India? Where do they stand? Do they face similar problems? With so many engineering colleges in India, like BITS Pilani, ISM-Dhanbad, Thapar University etc., there is without a doubt, enough talent to ride us through.

But the problem still persists. We cannot ignore that. And the question still remains. Are we over-hyping the IIT’s & NIT’s? Or for that matter engineering, as a whole? And is there a way to avoid it?

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