IIT Delhi Adapts Evaluation System, Eliminates Mid-Semester Exams to Alleviate Student Stress, Reveals Director Rangan Banerjee

IIT Delhi

The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT Delhi), under the leadership of Director Rangan Banerjee, has undergone a comprehensive transformation of its assessment methodology, resulting in the removal of one set of mid-semester examinations in an endeavor to mitigate student stress.

This strategic move arises amidst growing concerns regarding student suicides across various IITs, prompting an examination of the potential link between the demanding academic curriculum and student’s mental well-being.

Director Banerjee elaborated on the changes, stating, “Previously, we administered two sets of exams within a semester, including final examinations at the conclusion of each semester, along with multiple continuous evaluation components. Following an internal survey encompassing input from both students and faculty, we have taken the decision to eliminate one set of exams. Henceforth, the evaluation structure will comprise two sets of exams, accompanied by ongoing routine evaluations.”

Elaborating on the rationale behind this modification, Banerjee noted, “Our assessment calendar had become overly congested, leading us to adopt this measure with the aim of alleviating student burdens and reducing stress. The Senate has also granted approval for this decision, which will be enforced beginning this ongoing semester. Notably, the two examinations will account for a maximum of 80 percent of the total evaluation weightage.”

In April, the IIT Council convened to address the necessity for a robust grievance redressal system, the augmentation of psychological counseling services, and a reduction in the pressure, fear of failure, and feelings of rejection experienced by students.

The surge in student suicides, alleged instances of discrimination, and the enhancement of students’ mental well-being constituted central themes of discussion during the meeting.

According to data disclosed in Parliament last month, the IITs have reported the highest number of student suicide cases over the past five years. From 2018 to 2023, out of a total of 98 suicide cases in India’s leading higher education institutions, 39 took place within the premises of IITs.

Director Banerjee emphasized the institute’s multifaceted approach to addressing these challenges, stating, “In addition to the existing stress management mechanisms and mental health support structures, IIT Delhi is prioritizing the reinforcement of mentorship and interactive avenues. We particularly aim to facilitate interactions between students outside the classroom setting, ideally at an individual level.”

He further highlighted the institute’s initiatives, stating, “We are augmenting the frequency of ‘open house’ sessions with students, along with increasing the regularity of informal dinners or gatherings between faculty and students in small groups via the existing Student-Teacher Interaction Council. Furthermore, we are fostering faculty-student interactions through academic-domain-independent and academic-domain-dependent mentorship programs.”

In the context of student suicides, Banerjee underscored the significance of building resilience, stating, “IIT students are selected through a highly competitive process and often find themselves in classrooms surrounded by peers of exceptional intelligence. We are actively working to impart coping mechanisms for managing failures, which is a crucial focus area.”

He further outlined measures, noting, “We have expanded our counseling infrastructure, incorporating both student and professional counselors within our hostels. Our goal is to identify students whose academic performance shows signs of decline, allowing us to offer tailored mentorship.”

Banerjee concluded by emphasizing the institute’s commitment to providing a supportive environment, stating, “Any instance of suicide is deeply tragic and impacts everyone involved. We are determined to foster an enabling ecosystem where students can comfortably seek counseling and mentorship when facing emotional or mental challenges.”

Notably, last month, a 20-year-old B.Tech final-year student at IIT Delhi tragically died by suicide within a campus hostel. Police investigations revealed that the student’s family had communicated his dissatisfaction with his performance in certain subjects during the recent final-year examinations.


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