The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IITD) has revamped its evaluation system and dropped a set of mid-semester exams to reduce stress among students. The decision comes against the backdrop of several cases of student suicides in several IITs, which has sparked a debate on whether the curriculum and tough study schedule is affecting the mental health of students.
'There will be two sets of examinations apart from regular assessment'
The director of IIT Delhi said, “Earlier we have been using two sets of examinations in a semester, final examination at the end of every semester and multiple continuous evaluation systems. We conducted an internal survey and based on the feedback received from all the students and faculty, we have decided to drop one set of exams. Therefore, now there will be two sets of examinations apart from the regular evaluation."
"We felt that the examination schedule was too cumbersome, so decided to reduce the burden and stress of the students. The decision has got the approval of the senate and will be implemented in the current semester. The limit of maximum 80 percent overload (weightage) has been fixed for both the exams," he added.
What was the decision taken in the April meeting?
The IIT Council, in its meeting in April, decided that there is a need for a stronger grievance redressal system, more psychological counseling services and to reduce stress and fear of failure and rejection among students. In the meeting, there was an in-depth discussion on suicides of students, alleged discrimination and ensuring mental health of students.
'Suicide cases highest in last five years
According to data shared in Parliament last month, all IITs have reported the highest number of student suicides in the past five years. Between 2018 and 2023, out of 98 cases of student suicides in higher educational institutions of India, 39 cases are from IITs. Banerjee said IIT-Delhi is looking to strengthen some mentorship and socialization measures, especially encouraging interactions with students outside of classrooms.
Banerjee said that apart from increasing the frequency of informal dinners from time to time between students and teachers in small groups through the existing 'Student-Teacher Liaison Council', 'Open House' interactions with students are also being increased.
'We should be able to tell you how to deal with failure'
Regarding student suicides, Banerjee said, "Students get into all IITs through a very competitive process, they get into a class where there are many very intelligent students. We need to be able to tell people that How do you deal with failure? That's something we are looking into."