More than 2,400 students have dropped out of the most sought after IITs in the past two years, reveals data provided by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) to the Rajya Sabha. Of the 2,461 dropouts recorded from the 23 IITs, about 57% were from the IIT Delhi and the IIT Kharagpur, the data tabled on July 25 points out.
The IIT Delhi recorded 782 dropouts and Kharagpur 622. The number in the other IITs like Kanpur, Bombay and Madras was far less. While 263 students dropped out of the IIT Bombay, 190 dropped out of the IIT Kanpur and only 128 from the IIT Madras.
Another interesting aspect which emerges from the data is that 1,171 of the dropouts, which is 47.5%, are from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Class category.
In its response to the question asked by Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh V. Vijayasai Reddy, the MHRD said the reasons could be attributed to “shifting to the other colleges/ institutions, personal reasons, medical reasons, placement during PG courses and pursuing higher education abroad”.
“The dropout in the undergraduate programmes is attributed to withdrawal due to wrong choices filled, poor academic performance, personal and medical reasons,” the MHRD said, adding that the institutes were taking correctional measures to “de-stress students”.
Asked why students from the reserved category are dropping out in such a high number, Somesh Kumar, Dean of Students Affairs at the IIT Kharagpur, said the figures were not alarming. “The intake of students from the weaker sections in the IITs is almost 50% and if similar number of students drop out there is nothing unusual in it,” he said. Referring to the reservation in the IITs, he said 15% seats were reserved for the SC category, 7.5% for the STs and 27% for the OBC category, which makes it 49.5%.
According to the Dean, the IIT Kharagpur has set up a counselling centre and a student welfare group that helps students to cope up with the stress.
For instance a student gets a chance to pursue B. Tech in Agriculture and Food Technology but drops out if he/she gets other streams like Computer Science in other institutes, the professor said.While Prof. Kumar said there was nothing unusual in the dropout figures, there were other who feel that the matter needs to be investigated further.
“The usually high dropouts from the two IITs reflect that that there could be some institutional factors. They should undertake a social climate assessment survey,” Harsh Agarwal, co-founder of CURE, who has been working on preventing ragging in educational institutions for the past two decades, said. Mr. Agarwal said factors like ragging cannot be completely ruled out.