More than a decade ago, IIT Kanpur (IIT-K) issued an advisory rule prohibiting first-year students from carrying their laptops to the institute. The rule that was introduced in the academic year 2003-04 was backed by the recommendations of the counselling cell at IIT Kanpur.
The management of the institute was of the opinion that laptops serve as a portal of distraction for young minds. An authority at IIT-K told PaGaLGuY that, “The management had deliberated the recommendations for the ban. With endless avenues available on the internet, most students whiled away their time in pursuits other than academics.” The authorities claimed that the ban prevents students from staying holed-up in their hostel rooms post lectures. For academic purposes, students are allowed to use the institute labs anytime during the day.
However, now that students possess smart phones and access to WiFi connection throughout the campus, will a laptop ban really put a kibosh on distractions? “Mobile phones serve the same accessibility as laptops. Thus the purpose of the ban to prevent distracted is now moot,” said a first year student. Besides, when it comes to the computer science branch, coding and programming are a part of the syllabus. Hence, students find it inconvenient to keep bustling in the college labs especially during odd hours of the day.
Despite, such criticism from students, IIT-K is still adamant about repealing the obsolete policy. “There has been no initiative by the students to have this ban rooted out. In case the students are really inconvenienced the management will consider the demands.” said a professor at IIT Kanpur.