What ails the IITs ?
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A spate of news items have come up about how
the IITs are slipping and that IIT students are not up to the mark.
Anil K. Rajvanshi :I recently gave a lecture to undergraduate students at my
alma mater, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur. A day before my lecture, the
students had arranged for a bull session at night with the residents of one
hall, where I stayed for three years during my undergraduate days in the late
1960s. Most of them complained that after passing the toughest exam in the
world, called Joint Entrance Exam or JEE, they felt let down since they were not
challenged or inspired by IIT teachers. The teachers said the students do not
read or attend classes and are just not interested in studies any more. I think
the truth lies somewhere in between.
A spate of news items have come up about how the IITs are slipping and that IIT
students are not up to the mark. A deeper analysis will reveal that it is not
the students' fault since they are not being guided properly.
In the last couple of years, I have interacted with students not only at the
IITs, NITs, management institutes, etc, but also in schools and colleges in
rural towns. And everywhere I have found bright kids who want to do something
worthwhile. Being better informed via the electronic media like cell phones,
internet and social networks, they know what exists in the world and want to be
a part of it.
An entry into the IIT is a passport to success. This is based on the past
history of IITians getting plum jobs in IT, banking and other fields. The JEE is
a great filtering mechanism. Passing it is no mean achievement because even the
faculty of IITs cannot do it in the time allotted. Thus saying that most of the
students who nowadays get into the IITs are zombies is not correct. Yes, the JEE
can be improved by having an extra question paper on languages and an aptitude
The reason why the IITs were set up was to create excellent engineers and
technologists for India. That basis has failed since the majority of IIT
graduates go for non- engineering jobs such as management, banking and civil
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