IIT-K takes steps to destress students, no termination policy for PG students

Kanpur (UP), Jan 31 – The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-K) has done away with its termination policy for postgraduate (PG) students.

This means that no PG students will be terminated for failing in exams and they can appear in successive tests multiple times.

The decision comes after three students allegedly ended their lives in just a month.

Prof Shalabh, the dean of Student Academic Affairs, said, “Yes, in-principle it has been agreed upon to extend the benefit of no-termination policy at the postgraduate level. It means there will be no-termination based on a student’s academic record (cumulative point index or CPI). The policy was introduced at the undergraduate level in 2022.”

IIT-K has also put in place a number of measures, relaxed several norms and introduced additional welfare initiatives for its students, Shalabh said.

“We have decided to reduce the academic workload of Ph.D students. Presently, they are required to pursue six courses. It has been reduced to four. This is one of the measures put in place to destress students,” he said.

He added, “The course work will be made more flexible, and the institute will not put any pressure on students to complete their academic work even if their CPI is low.”

“Also, Ph.D students will get an option to exit the programme with a MS degree and faster processing of a thesis in three months as against six months earlier,” he added.

Other measures included a streamlined PG admission process, freedom to choose between a thesis and a project in the M.Tech programmes, Prof Shalabh said.

All faculty guides will be trained to help students by keeping informal channels of communication open for non-academic matters and provide help to students to foster a supportive environment, he added.

The institute is also strengthening its counselling service by hiring more professionals, he said, adding more hostel managers were being hired to take care of the medical needs of the students. Mental health awareness programmes would be conducted every semester, he said.

Between December 19 and January 18, the IIT-K witnessed three cases of its students allegedly committing suicide.

On January 18, a PhD student; on January 10, an M.Tech student in the department of aerospace engineering and on December 19 a postdoctoral research student in the department of biological sciences and bioengineering were found dead in their hostel rooms.

The M.Tech student was facing conditional termination as he refused to appeal to reappear in a retest.

The dean of student academic affairs said the strength of students at IIT-K has doubled to nearly 10,000 from 5,000 till a few years ago.

“There were a few measures that were already in place. But they were not adequate to cater to so many students. We had a counselling team for UG students. But now the institute will have a dedicated pool of counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists to help postgraduate students combat stress,” he said.

A review committee with five members has also been formed. It is tasked with addressing and promptly resolving student issues. It has reportedly received specific inputs from individual departments based on their interactions (Open House) with students.


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