Is lower CGPA the answer to curb under performance by students at IITR

IIT Roorkee has been in the news for expelling the under-performing students.  By under performers, it refers to the students who have scored a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) below 5. However, the institute has decided to lower the bar of CGPA, in order to curb the number of students failing to pass the year. Instead of a CGPA 5, the students have to now score 4 points in both the semesters to pass.

This year, IIT-Roorkee, had struck off 18 students from its roll call for low grades, the year before the number was 73. On both occasions the institute decided to withdraw the termination after protests. Till recently, it was compulsory for IIT Roorkee students to get a CGPA of 5 or more in order to pass the course in the first year. Of the 18 students, except one, all belonged to the reserved category. The year before too, a majority of the 73 students belonged to the reserved category.

The move was introduced as a step to lower the number of students failing to pass. “A rationalisation of CGPA was much-needed. As every year, we find it is difficult for at least 1 to 2 per cent of the first year batch (1000 students) to score a 5.0 CGPA,” says IIT-Roorkee director Pradipta Banerjee. The institute has followed the steps of IIT Kanpur, which until a few years ago faced the same issue.

A first year student who was recently re-admitted after being expelled says, “There is a lot of academic pressure. It is a highly competitive atmosphere and since English is a problem for us, it adds to the stress. The preparatory course and English classes hardly ever help.”

A student who was expelled and re-admitted last year says, “The new rule will definitely help the students. Many of us had missed the 5 point CGPA by whiskers. This may drastically reduce the number of students failing the year. Besides this, the preparatory course needs a revamp. Hope that is taken into consideration as well.”

Other IITs, like the IIT Delhi, allows the students to carry backlogs to the next year. A student in the 4- year course gets 6 years to complete. IIT Roorkee, however, has decided to lower the bar instead of improving the education quality as per the needs of the students.