IIT Bombay Removes Branch Change Option
IIT Bombay: In a bid to alleviate stress among first-year students, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, has made the decision to eliminate the option of branch change at the conclusion of the first year. The institute recognized that the pursuit of higher grades for the purpose of securing a branch change was placing undue pressure on numerous students. In conjunction with this measure, the institute has also opted to decrease the number of courses per semester during the first year, aiming to lighten the academic workload.
During the 256th meeting of the Senate, which took place on Friday, a range of proposals were deliberated upon with the aim of mitigating academic stress experienced by first-year students. It was during this meeting that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay made the decision to become the first among the first-generation IITs to implement a significant change. This decision was prompted by the tragic incident of Darshan Solanki, a first-year student who sadly took his own life. The institute recognizes the urgent need to address the well-being and mental health of its students, leading to the adoption of this crucial measure.
Following the submission of an interim report by a panel investigating the tragic suicide of Darshan Solanki, concerns were raised about his declining academic performance potentially being a contributing factor. In response to these findings, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay established a separate committee in March. The committee’s primary objective was to thoroughly analyze and explore strategies to alleviate academic stress experienced by students, particularly those in their first year of study. The institute’s proactive approach in forming this committee highlights its commitment to addressing the underlying issues and implementing effective measures to support the well-being of its students.
The institute released a statement explaining the rationale behind the decision, stating that the stress caused by the pressure to obtain higher grades for branch changes primarily affected a large number of students, while only a few ultimately benefited from such changes. To accommodate this decision, a slight increase in the number of seats may be considered in certain popular branches during the admission process. Additionally, the Senate also approved the reduction of one course per semester in the first year, aiming to alleviate the academic load on students. This adjustment will provide students who struggle with the workload more time to focus on their courses.
The changes will be implemented starting from the 2023 batch. As a result, students will need to make careful branch selections during the admission process. Unlike the previous practice, where students could apply for a change of branch based on high scores, once a student is admitted to IIT-Bombay in a particular branch, they will remain in that branch until graduation. A professor from IIT-Bombay shared this information, emphasizing the significance of the new policy.
To inform the decision-making process, the institute formed a committee specifically tasked with examining ways to reduce academic pressure on first-year students. This committee conducted a survey among current students to gather their feedback. The observations and recommendations from the survey report were presented to the Senate, where the final decisions were made. Consequently, students will now be required to complete four courses, in addition to lab work, per semester in their first year, as opposed to the previous requirement of five courses.
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