Some students at India’s premier engineering institutes, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), are expelled because of poor academic performance. They are among the top 10,000 students from an odd 11 lakh candidates who take the Joint Entrance Examination, to secure a seat at the IITs. Though their poor scores can be attributed to various factors, the language barrier stands out as prominent.

The IIT Council is planning to set up a support system for students from Hindi medium. However, not many IITs are aware of it. Prof DK Nauriyal from IIT Roorkee, said, “We cannot change the medium of teaching from English to Hindi. We have students from the vernacular medium as well, and they do not understand Hindi.”
Students who fail to meet the cut-off in the first year, are not promoted to the second year. In 2015, 72 students were expelled from the institute, and 11 in 2016. “We have asked our professors to cover all major points in Hindi so that students be clear in their concepts,” Prof Nauriyal continued.

Two of the initiatives IIT-R is taking to help such students are Student Mentorship Programme (SMP) and  Academic Reinforcement Programme (ARP). Both these programme individually take charge to help freshmen in adjusting to the new environment, and to conduct lectures for them. Senior students are responsible for conducting four hours lectures of four different subjects on Saturdays.

Vatsal Sanjay, a fourth year student at IITR, shared, “Students can interrupt a professor to clear their doubts as many times as they want, but not all of them feel comfortable in doing that. ARP  helps such students so that they don’t lag behind in academics.” 

Prof Nauriyal added, “We can see that these initiatives are helping students. The number has decreased from 72 to 11 in a year.”

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