IIM Bangalore makes attending classes optional

Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore has decided to make attendance voluntary across all courses, starting with the first year students of this academic year. This may sound like an odd thing to do for a premier b-school like IIM Bangalore, but Bringi Dev, the head of Communications and an adjunct professor there, is convinced that it’s a step forward. “At the post-graduate level, a student is mature enough to take a decision about attendance,” he said. “The idea is to see how students discipline themselves.

Although the students now have the freedom to choose to attend their classes, the last word still belongs to the instructors. The students will be evaluated based on their class participation along with their overall performance. It is now upto the professors to decide whether they will make it compulsory for students to attend their respective classes or not and how they will rate the students for class participation, said Kruthika M, PGP placement representative at IIM Bangalore.

This relaxation in attendance at one of the IIMs has come as a surprise to many other b-school students in the country. We believe that IIM lectures are of great value. I was taken aback by IIM Bangalore’s decision to make class attendance optional for students, said Ashish Gupta, SDM Institute for Management Development, Mysore.

Some students were also of the opinion that relaxation in class attendance could encourage truant behaviour among students on campus. Generally speaking, when there is so much of freedom, students often lose their focus and indulge in other activities. But, it depends and the case might not be the same for IIM Bangalore students, said Biron D Souza, a student at Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai.

But that is missing the whole point of the exercise, according to officials at IIM Bangalore, who say that the relaxation in attendance will not bring in too much change on campus. We know our students. The relaxation on attendance won’t bring any behavioural problems on the campus, Kruthika said.

A week ago, IIM Bangalore also made summer internships optional for candidates with more than 34 months of work experience. The decision was based on the feedback obtained from IIM Bangalore graduates who complained that candidates with prior work experience do not benefit much from the 2-month summer internship program. From this academic session, such candidates will be graded for the internship based on their previous work experience. The institute is still looking for ways to engage the candidates who opt out of summer internships.