The country's premier engineering colleges, the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs), are mulling an early exit option for academically weak students in undergraduate courses who will be allowed to opt out after three years -- instead of the full four years -- with a B.Sc. degree in engineering.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the proposal is on the agenda of the IIT council-- the highest decision-making body of all the 23 institutes -- for its meeting on Friday.
Currently, students enrolled in undergraduate programmes in IITs need to complete eight semesters (four years) to receive a B.Tech degree. But according to the HRD proposal, academically weak students can choose B.Sc. (Engineering) after the second semester and leave after three years, provided they have met the minimum academic standards.
If approved, the IITs will implement the suggestion from the current academic year, the report said.
The latest move comes amid worries over a high attrition rate in the IITs that saw over 2,461 students dropping out from the 23 institutes in the last two years (both at the undergraduate and postgraduate level), according to data shared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in Parliament in July. Most of the dropouts occurred in the older IITs — Delhi tops the list with 782 dropouts, followed by 622 in Kharagpur, 263 in Bombay, 190 in Kanpur and 128 in Madras, a report by Hindustan Times on the HRD data said.
Poor academic performance of students has been highlighted as one of the main reasons behind the students dropping out. Even Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank highlighted the issue in the Rajya Sabha.
“..the drop out in undergraduate programmes is attributed to withdrawal due to wrong choices filled, poor academic performance of students, personal and medical reasons,” he said.
An estimated 9 lakh students take each cycle of the JEE (main) -- that’s held twice a year -- for 13,500 IIT seats.