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Best to ask weak students to leave after first year than dropout later: IIT-Roorkee director Pradipta Banerji

IIT-Roorkee made history of sorts by expelling six per cent of its first year batch this week for poor performance. Director Pradipta Banerji stands by the decision.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jul 10, 2015, 08.20 PM IST|Original: Jul 10, 2015, 08.16 PM IST
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IIT-Roorkee made history of sorts by expelling six per cent of its first year batch this week for poor performance. Director Pradipta Banerji stands by the decision.
IIT-Roorkee made history of sorts by expelling six per cent of its first year batch this week for poor performance. Director Pradipta Banerji stands by the decision.
IIT-Roorkee made history of sorts by expelling six per cent of its first year batch this week for poor performance. This may have sparked protests on campus, but institute director Pradipta Banerji told ET that he stands by the decision. Edited excerpts:

Q. Will IIT-Roorkee reconsider the decision if the HRD ministry intervenes?

A. The decision to expel the students is final. If a higher authority asks us to review the decision, we will do it. But a review does not necessarily mean the decision will change

Q. But 73 students is a huge number…

It’s not as if I woke up one morning and decided to get rid of 73 students. There is procedure and logic behind this. Students were made aware of the criteria at the time of admission. They were also reminded about it and asked to improve their performance when it was felt they were slipping. The decision hasn’t come as a shock to them.

Q. When did IIT-Roorkee decide to expel students with less than 5 CGPA in the first year?

This was introduced last year.

Q. What was the logic behind this change?

It’s best to ask students who cannot cope to leave after the first year than have them dropout in the third or fourth year. They should be given the option of pursuing an alternate career early instead of studying something they are not cut out for. There are US universities which expel students at the end of first year because they don’t make the cut, but we don’t talk about that.

Q. So will you continue with this criterion?

As long as I am the director, I would like to continue with this criterion.

Q. Why not allow these students to repeat a year instead of expelling them?

First of all this is not the first time an IIT has expelled students for poor academic performance. In 2013, we asked 12 students to leave, but they were eventually taken back. I have data to show that those students could not complete the course. What’s the point of allowing the 73 (students) to continue only to have them drop out later?

As for us, we are constantly monitoring the performance of every student and constantly innovating to ensure that no one leaves the system because of the fault of the system. We have, for instance, started a mentorship programme where each student is mentored by a senior.

Q. These students have cracked one of the toughest entrance exams in the world. Why can't they cope after admission?

You are talking to a person who is also disturbed by the number (of failures). I am the director, but I’m also a professor. Maybe we’ll have a better understanding of this a few months down the line. You also need to acknowledge that most IIT students have been toppers of their respective schools. The competition here is intense and it depends on each student handles the competition.

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