Is a change in the grading system a solution for IIT Kanpur?

The admissions of some students at IIT Kanpur (IITK) were terminated recently when they failed to score the minimum grade required to qualify for the next semester. These Students were expelled after the results of various undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes were announced earlier this month.

The disqualified students are left with no recourse as the institute has shown no mercy to readmit them. The IITK Senate will review appeals of the expelled students individually and convey their decision to the appeals committee, who will decide whether the termination should be cancelled or not. “A meeting of the Senate Reviewing Committee will be held on January 1, 2016 to take a call on the mercy appeals of the expelled students,” said A. K. Mishra, Sr. Deputy Registrar at IIT Kanpur. The officials of the Department of Academic Affairs at IITK remained tight-lipped when PaGaLGuY asked them about the number of students expelled. “We cannot disclose any figure before the mercy appeal of disqualified students is reviewed. Only then can we give you the official figure,” said an official who did not wish to be named.

“This is not the first instance where admissions have been terminated following poor performance. The students are clearly instructed during admission that poor performance will lead to their expulsion. Despite the institute’s efforts to ensure that the number of students disqualifying is less, it’s rare that students, once expelled, are considered for readmission. Only genuine cases like medical issues and language barriers can be reasons for readmission,” says a fourth year BTech student at IITK who did not want to be named. “Around 50-60 students face this punitive action every semester after failing to score the minimum credits,” he added.

Earlier this year, IIT Roorkee had expelled 73 students for failing to score the minimum CGPA. The authorities had to overturn their decision after a prolonged battle between the students and the authorities involving the Uttarakhand High Court. The students were re-admitted, and the grading system for first year BTech students at IIT Roorkee was revised. The revised system yielded positive results and the number of students failing to get the minimum credits reduced greatly. With the significant number of students facing expulsion at IIT Kanpur every year, it will be interesting to see if the institute comes up with changes in the grading system favourable to the students.