Faculty speak in English, Hindi, Telugu to set freshers and their kin at ease on orientation day
Excitement and anxiety hung in the air as first-year students of IIT-Madras, accompanied by their parents, gathered in a large hall for the orientation that was to mark the beginning of their four-year stay in the institution. But the tension soon melted into smiles as IIT-M director Bhaskar Ramamurthi assured the parents who had come from near and far: ‘Darne ki koi baat nahi hain’ — there is no need to be worried.
“Every student gains at the end of four years,” said Prof. Ramamurthi to parents of about 840 entrants.
The director, speaking in a mix of English and Hindi, reminded them of the various support systems that would focus “on their child’s multidimensional growth”, even as he urged them to see their children through this transition. A senior professor stood next to him translating his speech into Telugu, to help set the parents, many of whom were from Andhra Pradesh, at ease.
The IITs can be a model not only in terms of technical training and research, but also in the way they orient their students to the institution.
Over the course of the week, freshers will be taken to various laboratories, libraries, workshops and classes, and introduced to faculty members, counsellors and seniors. Thereafter, refresher sessions in the basic concepts of science and mathematics will begin.
Senior professors advised the students to come out of the ‘JEE addiction.’ “You will have to start writing answers in paragraphs — derive an answer and explain the steps,” said Arindama Singh, a mathematics professor.
“Your parents are proud that you are here today. Four years from now, we want to be proud of you,” he said.
The director also asked them to focus on academics before going about exploring other interests.
“The teaching and learning methodologies here are different from the style of JEE preparation, and it is fast-paced. The wiser thing will be to focus on academics till you get it right.”
He said that parents must be in constant touch with their children. “We want our students to be leaders so we give them a lot of freedom. Please keep reminding them to use this freedom wisely.”
L.S. Ganesh, dean, student affairs, summed it up when he said, “You just need to get two of your switches on — competence and character. More of it as we go along the way. Welcome to this new world of freedom, which brings along much responsibility.”