IIT Delhi students raise concerns over placements, mental health, faculty feedback at open house

IIT-D PhD scholars expressed concerns about verbal abuse, identity-based discrimination faced in the lab. The administration has sought a week to look into the matter.


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IIT Delhi BTech, MTech, PhD students at the open house. (Image: Official)IIT Delhi BTech, MTech, PhD students at the open house. (Image: Official)

Anu Parthiban | February 23, 2024 | 01:28 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Concerns on placements, mental health, lack of options for PhD students to choose supervisors were some of the issues raised in the open house held by the masters’ students in Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi). The IIT Delhi director and administration have sought a week time to look into the matter.

Students pursuing masters, BTech, and PhD at IIT Delhi shared the demands through a survey. The open house was hosted yesterday in the wake of fifth suicide case reported at IITs in this academic year. The institute had also postponed the semester-exams.

Recently, a RTI data shared by the Ambedkar, Periyar, Phule Study Circle (APPSC), a student collective of IIT Bombay, showed that IIT Delhi had denied 132 PhD seats for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and Other Backward Castes (OBC) categories, despite having good representation.

Based on over 1,100 responses received from the undergraduates, BTech students demanded for a formal guidelines that specify the range of percentage of students for each letter grade. They demanded that the course policies should not be changed during the semester without ratification by the class committee.

Besides demanding an increase in the budget allocation for counselling services, the BTech students also asked administration not to conduct more than 2 exams in a day and also provide at least 2-day gap between the last teaching day and exam.

Also read 'Favouritism, sexual harassment': 24.2% IIT Kanpur PhD students unsure of future, finds survey

IIT Delhi MTech students’ demands

A total of 560 students recorded their response on various issues till February 22, 4 am. As per the RTI data, IIT Delhi has the highest SGPA criteria for the continuation of stipend. The students highlighted that the discontinuation of stipends often results in students taking loans or dropping out of the course.

Highest number of MTech students expresses concern about the IIT Delhi placements. Around 340 students out of 560, which is 60.7%, currently on the campus are stressed out about the career opportunity in MTech, the students said.

Several students said that the supervisor’s feedback is not looked into thoroughly. “Out of 560 responses from Masters students 339 are stressed over career opportunities, 251 over course-work related issues, 211 over grading policies, 192 over faculty behaviour and 64 over change of supervisor,” the survey found.

Also read IIT Delhi MTech student found dead in Dronagiri hostel; fifth IIT suicide this year

IIT Delhi: PhD students’ demands

The students pursuing PhD in IIT Delhi demanded a 3-month window for all new PhDs to change their supervisor. They also voiced their concerns about the verbal abuse and/or unprofessional conduct of the supervisor and the identity-based discrimination in the lab environment.

Demanding that the supervisors should also be held responsible for completion of PhD in 5 years, the students said faculty feedback system of supervisors should be installed for “mutual accountability, transparency in the implications of the PhD timeline proposed”.

“A mandatory open house should be held by each department every 3 months to discuss the problems of the PhD students.” They also talked about mental health issues and insufficient facilities for research. Further, the scholars asked to extend hostel accommodation at least up to synopsis submitted.

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