It was by pure accident that I landed myself among 4 professors in room. One of them was a very distinguished and elderly professor I had blogged about before. There was a woman Prof. from Humanities and Social Science department, I dint know the other Prof. and the 4th one was my guide.
The elderly Prof. was saying that, when it comes to final year project all the profs. will guide only those students who have a CPI of 7.5 and above. He himself though is known in department to take “any” student who is refused guidance by all other Profs. He also noted that if a student has score less than 7.5 it actually means the student should not have been in IIT in the first place. [As per rules if you score less than 6.0 you are kicked out of IIT]
“Since the student has score above the mark set by the institution, isnt it the institutions responsibility to arrange a guide for them? No one takes them and an old man like me has to take the responsibility.” He questioned others. I smelled that a debate is about to start.
“Why do keep such students in institution? throw them out” Said the lady prof.
“But the rules say that if he scores more than 6.0 he can stay in IIT”- Another prof.
“Then change the rules” her reply was swift.
Everyone laughed and I too grinned.
“But then if you increase the level you will still find some at the bottom.”
I thanked the fate that at least one of them thought pragmatically. And then the same old man said the following words, which I indeed expected from him knowing him through his lecture, speeches and articles. These words not only are true but they highlight how IITs have turned to “Institutional Insanity” ( Word borrowed from Atanu Dey).
“I have seen many 6 pointers passing out of these institution. They have completed their projects well, they have got good jobs, they have a family, they are happy and they have contributed to the growth of society in a way no less than most 9 pointers. Then why reject them?”
One gets into IIT by fighting his way out from thousands and lakhs of students. The competition is not just unfair but takes a heavy toll on life of those students. Certainly if one gets into IIT by merit he is someone who has fought his way out by beating others to dust. I have written before about people who don’t get through. They are made to feel losers.
But even after getting in, and meeting the criteria set by the institution there are some “made to feel” losers.
By now way I am arguing against merit. Keep raising the bar but more important question that the institution needs to remember is, what is its goal? I am unable to find it even after searching the whole IITB site.
If the goal is to:
Act as a filter to, weed out every possible definition of mediocrity and pass only the best among the best in the given lot of best minds to society.
Then I think what the woman professor said is correct. Why 7.5? One can keep the criteria to 9-10 as well. There are geniuses all around the campus who will achieve it.
But if the goal is to, and I believe it should be the real goal:
To find the best talent in country, provide them with best infrastructure and guidance, to help them become finest engineers available to society.
Then I would say it is insanity not ensuring that every students passing the criteria of 6 CPI must get a guide.
But then the problem is not about guide and project. The problem is while talking about excellence the institution must remember that the kind of students enter IIT are excellent even if IIT doesn’t give them anything. Wherever they will go in world they are indeed above average. What matters is whether IIT can act as an amplifier and not a filter to the talent and intellect they posses.
As far as I am concerned I am new to this environment. But I see that most of the public institutions are so deviated from their original goal. It is not good for our society.