Over 2,400 Dropouts From IIT: Why Are Students Leaving?

At 782, IIT Delhi leads the list for the number of dropouts, followed by IIT Kharagpur at 622 and IIT Bombay at 263.

Updated02 Aug 2019, 05:36 PM IST
4 min read

With thousands of aspirants seeking admission into the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) every year, the competition is cut-throat and only a few make the cut.

While admission into the institute is often thought to guarantee a ‘better future’, a figure recently shared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) showed that a considerable number of students have dropped out of the prestigious institution.

According to the HRD Ministry data, as many 2,461 students from 23 IITs have dropped out in the last two years. This includes students from both undergraduate as well post-graduate courses.

From the data shared by the HRD ministry, here are some figures that stand out:

  • Out of the 2,461 students who dropped out, 1,290 belong to the General category, while 1,171 belong to reserved categories (SC, ST, OBC)
  • As far as the reserved categories are concerned, there were 371 SC, 199 ST and 601 OBC dropouts
  • At 782, IIT Delhi leads the list for the number of dropouts, followed by IIT Kharagpur at 622, and IIT Bombay at 263

So, What's the Reason?

To find the reason behind the significant number of dropouts, The Quint spoke to students who have studied at IIT and a few experts. Many pointed out that post-graduate courses, MTech and PhD, witness the most number of dropouts.

An IIT Roorkee pass-out, Virendra Tiwari, who is currently working at a real estate company in Gurugram, says:

Over 2,400 Dropouts From IIT: Why Are Students Leaving?
(Photo: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

Many reasons can drive students to leave their studies: family conditions, career competition, the gap between their expectations of the institution and what it is delivering and the syllabus’ pressure.

Currently working at Indian Oil, Himanshu Pandey had qualified in the GATE exam in 2013 with an All India Rank of 21. With the rank, he could have easily secured admission in any of the IITs. However, he went for IISc Bengaluru. A couple of months later, due to domestic responsibilities taking a toll, he had to leave the institute.

Over 2,400 Dropouts From IIT: Why Are Students Leaving?
(Photo: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

An IIT Kharagpur pass-out, Rajesh Soni, is working as a lead physicist at Vedanta Group. He opines that at times, students who have graduated from a reputed institute come to IIT for post-graduation keeping in mind its illustrious reputation.

Over 2,400 Dropouts From IIT: Why Are Students Leaving?
(Photo: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

While the dropout numbers are concentrated at the PG level, undergraduate courses also see cases of the same, albeit at a lower number. Amendra, an IIT Kanpur pass-out, says that the pressure of the syllabus is a contributing factor as sometimes students cannot keep up with its demands.

At IIT Delhi, certain measures seem to have been taken to make the institute more inclusive, including helping students adapt to the English language, which is the language dominantly used for communication.

After taking note of these dropout figures, the HRD Ministry has also jumped to action, asking the institutes to come up with solutions to improve the state of affairs and reduce the dropout figures.

Is Discrimination Also a Factor?

Over 47 percent of dropouts in the last two years belonged to one of the reserved categories. A student at IIT Roorkee, who belongs to a reserved category and wishes to remain unnamed, told The Quint:

“In my four years (here), I haven’t seen a case of someone leaving studies due to discrimination. And I don’t think anything like this happens (here).”

However, this doesn't negate any caste-based discrimination taking place, the student adds, going on to narrate a personal incident.

“In our first year, all of us used to stay together in the hostel. But in the second year, the institute asked us to form our own groups for staying in the hostel. I was surprised to see that we were not included in such groups, which made me feel bad.”

Another student who studied at one of the IITs said that caste-based pressure is felt, especially in the first and the final year.

“In first year, some person or the other is bound to say that we belong to the reserved category, which makes us feel bad. In the final year, when the placements are going on, the competition is really high at that time. If a reserved category candidate, who did not have a very good image as far as academics are concerned, gets placed first, then people talk about that, even if it’s not said directly to your face.”

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Published: 31 Jul 2019, 05:03 PM IST
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