According to institute director Rangan Banerjee, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi has updated its evaluation process and eliminated a set of mid-semester tests to lessen student stress.
The decision is made in light of several student suicide instances that have occurred at IITs, which have spurred discussion about how the curriculum and demanding study schedule may be affecting the mental health of students.
“In the past, we had final exams after each semester, two sets of exams throughout the semester, and various continuous evaluation methods. We performed an internal survey, and we have decided to cancel one set of exams based on the responses from all students and faculty. Therefore, in addition to regular evaluations, there will now be two sets of exams, Banerjee told PTI in an interview.
“We decided to lessen student stress and strain because we felt the exam calendar was too full. The Senate has also given its approval, and the decision will go into effect this semester. The weighted average for the two exams has been capped at 80%, he continued.
At its meeting in April, the IIT Council concluded that strong grievance procedures, more psychological counselling services, and a reduction in student stress, failure- and rejection-related anxiety are all necessary.
The gathering covered a wide range of topics, including preventing student suicide, alleged prejudice, and student mental health.
IITs have reported the highest number of student suicide cases over the past five years, according to data given in Parliament last month.
IITs were home to at least 39 of the 98 suicide deaths that occurred in India’s premier universities between 2018 and 2023.
“In addition to existing mechanisms to deal with student stress and ensure mental well-being among students, IIT Delhi is pushing to strengthen some mentorship and interactive verticals, especially to encourage interactions with students outside of the classrooms, preferably at an individual level,” Banerjee said.
Mental Health & Stress Management
Through the already-existing Student-Teacher Interaction Council, he continued, “We are also increasing the frequency of ‘open house’ encounters with students in addition to the frequency of periodic casual dinners or lunches between students and faculty in small groups.
Through faculty mentorships that are both academic domain independent and academic domain dependent, the institute is also encouraging contacts between teachers and students.
When discussing suicide among students, Banerjee stated, “IIT students go through a very competitive process and enter a classroom full of smart individuals. We need to be able to explain to people how to deal with failure; this is our main concern.
“We have enlarged our counselling programme; now, our hostels house both professional and student counsellors. We want to keep tabs on children whose performance is declining so that they can receive the proper mentoring,” he said.
“Any suicide is tragic and it’s heartbreaking for everyone,” Banerjee added. We must establish a supportive environment so that students can contact someone and receive the appropriate counselling and mentorship if they are experiencing emotional or mental difficulties.
Last month, a 20-year-old IIT Delhi student in his final year of B.Tech committed suicide in a dorm on campus.
The family of the deceased student has told us that he was dissatisfied with his performance in a few subjects during the most recent final-year exams, according to police officers looking into the issue.