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Saturday, August 25, 2012

155 - State students not creative enough for IIT standards - The Hindu

State students not creative enough for IIT standards

R. Ravikanth Reddy

Students are trained to crack the JEE, but education at IITs emphasises on creative work and capability to learn new things fast. Unfortunately, these students are poor on both counts

The joy of reaching their dream destination is turning out to be a short-lived one, apparently due to a faulty training system that only prepares students to enter the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

The suicide of an IIT Kanpur student, Vaditya Nehru, has once again brought to fore the pressure on State students to perform at the IITs. It has also exposed the mismatch of quality of training they get at the Intermediate level and the stringent academic standards maintained at the institutes.

The rote mode of learning and getting trained to crack the IIT-JEE are the banes, apart from the inability to handle the pressure in such a competitive atmosphere.

Nehru, who hails from Miryalaguda, allegedly took the extreme step unable to match the academic standards. Last year, L. Nitin Kumar Reddy of Chittoor committed suicide in IIT Madras for similar reasons.

There have been quite a few earlier too, apart from those who have made unsuccessful attempts. In most cases, academic pressure was the main reason.
“In IITs they are exposed to a totally different academic style, unlike what they learn in junior colleges, and unfortunately, they are not prepared well,” says R.V. Raja Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of RGUKT, who was a faculty at IIT Kharagpur earlier. “Their conceptual understanding is less. They get admissions due to the grinding they go through for the entrance exam.”

Interestingly, some professors from Andhra Pradesh working in IITs conducted an internal study to pinpoint the lacunae among Telugu students. Their study found that most of them lack creative skills or they don’t adapt to the new system easily. Education at IITs emphasises on creative work and capability to learn new things fast. Unfortunately, they are poor on both counts.

A teacher says that IITians from the State can be divided into three groups. The first one constituting around 25 per cent are exceptionally good while the second group constituting about another 40 per cent work hard to overcome their inherent deficiencies. The problem is with the remaining 35 per cent who fail to rise up to the IIT standards.

“The pressure is on two counts – to perform according to their JEE rank status, and perform after adapting to a totally different academic style competing with the best minds from different parts of the country. Majority of our students lack that competitiveness,” says an IIT trainer. “Andhra Pradesh accounts for nearly 18 per cent of all successful IIT aspirants in the country, thanks to the aggression of the corporate colleges’ training but not quality preparation.”

“The IITs on their part offer total assistance to academically weak students, and  it’s a manageable issue,” says U.B. Desai, Director, IIT Hyderabad. “But what they need is support from parents and friends back home, who generally have huge expectations. Unfortunately, there are few channels for the frustrated students to confide and seek solutions, and that leads to suicides,” says C. Veerender, a counsellor.