Thursday, June 16, 2011

IIT-Hyderabad, students' last choice

Three years after its inception, the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H) remains one of the least preferred Indian Institutes of Technology in the country. While several state students figure in the top 1000 in IIT-JEE exams every year, the starting and closing ranks of candidates at IIT-H for the past two years range between 1,600 and 2,916.

It is not just the older IITs like Bombay and Madras that are preferred over IIT-H, even new IITs set up in 2008 like Patna and Mandi are opted by more students than IIT-Hyderabad. Most of the top 100 rank holders opt for Bombay, Roorkee and Madras. Among the new IITs, IIT-Patna and IIT-Mandi are catching up, bagging students with top ranks ranging between 985 and 1,500. In 2009, the highest JEE rank on IIT-H campus was 1,159 and in 2010 the top rank dropped to 1,715. While counselling for admissions to IITs this year will go on until the third week of June, sources say that the highest rank this year too would be around 1,500.

Rank holders from the state said that they are not aware of the quality of education offered in the institute that does not even have a permanent campus. "When you think of IITs in the south it is IIT-Madras you would want to join. IIT-H has not established itself as a premier institute," said Shaimak Reddy, the second rank holder in IIT-JEE. IIT officials stated that just about five to 10 per cent of the students from the state opt for IIT-Hyderabad.

Infact, students who have taken admission in IIT-H admit it was one of their last choices. "My first choice was IIT-Bombay and IIT-H was my second last choice, the last being IIT-Gandhinagar," said a student of IIT-H, whose not-so-good JEE rank got him a seat in IIT-H. The students complained that the institute has not tried to build its image in the past two years. "IIT-H, academically is doing well. It had started even student exchange programmes in collaboration with foreign countries. But the institute does little to promote its image unlike some of the IITs from the north," said a third year student, who said that he was worried that the low brand value of the institute might affect placements.

The administration also does not seem in any hurry to bring about changes, sources from the higher education department said. While the state government had allotted land in Kandi village in Medak district for the IIT, the institution has not started construction of buildings yet. IIT-H has recruited about 70 per cent of its staff, but the remaining 30 per cent slots are filled by faculty from IIT-Madras, the mentor institution. Ironically, the state led by former chief minister late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had lobbied much with the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) to get an IIT of its own.

IIT officials, however, seemed optimistic about the institute's future. "Every institute has teething troubles. We are doing better than many IITs set up and we hope to do better," a Chennai-based faculty member of the university said. The director, of the institute, U.B. Desai was, however, not available for comment.

Source: The Times of India, June 16, 2011

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