IIT-Roorkee lowers the bar to pass B-Tech Online Casino course 

19 August 2016 | Source: Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Pressured by what has now become an annual affair of termination of low performers and then revoking the termination, Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee, has decided to lower the bar for passing the B-Tech (Bachelor of Technology) course.

Giving a buffer to those students who are not able to face the academic pressure, the institute has lowered the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) required to pass the course from 5 down to 4. "A rationalisation of CGPA was much-needed. As every year, we find it is difficult for at least 1 to 2 per cent of the first year batch (1000 students) to score a 5.0 CGPA," IIT-Roorkee director Pradipta Banerjee told The Economic Times over phone.

This year, IIT-Roorkee, had struck off 18 students from its rolls for low grades, the year before the figure was 73, but on both occasions it decided to withdraw the termination after protests. Till recently, it was compulsory for IITRoorkee students to get a CGPA of 5 or more in order to pass the course. Of the 18 students, except one, all belonged to the reserved category.

Employability of engineers has been a big concern in India. The scramble for best talent by companies leads to the race for early Day slots at the IITs. About 5-20 per cent of students graduating from the IITs fail to find suitable job offers, as reported earlier by ET. "IITians stand out in the world as their minds are wired to perform against tough goals. Lowering goals for graduating touches that core attitude of pursuit of the impossible known in the IITs. We thus run the risk of producing ordinary doers when we could have produced extraordinary innovators," said Vineet Nayar, former chief executive officer of HCL Technologies. The problem of low performers is not confined to IIT Roorkee alone. Almost all IITs have a number of low performers.

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For every 1000 students in the first year, at least one to two per cent is unable to cope with the academic pressure. According to statistics shared by Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, minister of state, ministry of human resource development, while answering a question raised in Lok Sabha, between 2014 and 2016, the number of students who left the 16 IITs in the country was 1,782. Speaking in favour of lowering the CGPA, TV Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education said, "IITs should not instil the fear of failure in the young minds. Reducing CGPA is a good idea." In the past, IITKanpur too faced the problem of a high number of students failing to cope with the passing grades every year. This number used to be around 30 to 40 every year.

It was in 2011 that IITKanpur decided to lower the CGPA from 5.0 to 4.0 as the passing criterion. "We do have a few students every year who cannot cope with the academic pressure but this is true for all the IITs," said IIT-Kanpur's dean of Academic Affairs Neeraj Misra. But others like IIT-Delhi and Guwahati maintain a minimum CGPA of 5.0 for passing the course. The number of low-performing students in the first year at IITDelhi has been more than 10 almost every year. "There are a few tens of students who do drop out as they are not able to cope with the pressure at the IIT," confirmed a faculty member at IIT-Delhi. IITDelhi gives six years to B-Tech students to get a degree, which should ideally be completed in four years.

Many IIT faculty members blame the poor quality of students to the cramming up taught at the coaching centres, inability to comprehend English language and the objective type of question papers for the IIT entrance examination that is not an actual test for conceptual comprehension.

"The current assessment for entrance to the IITs does not help in a complete assessment of students getting through the IITs. It is a little misleading," said Misra. IIT-Guwahati director Gautam Biswas says the problem of a few students not able to cope with the pressure at IITs is nothing new. "This has been there for several years," he said.

IIT-Varanasi (BHU- Banaras Hindu University) director Rajeev Sangal spells out the inability to comprehend lectures in English and high competition among peer group as main factors for students not being able to cope at the IITs. He says, "Lowering CGPA is just not the answer to this problem."