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Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, the Union Human Resource Development Minister, reported to the Lok Sabha that the dropout rates in higher educational institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have seen a fall from last year. In fact, if the data from the last five years has shown a similar trend in all of the higher education institutes in India.
The following data was submitted by the HRD Minister in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
|Dropout Rates in Higher Education Institutes in India|
Mr. Nishank added that the fall in dropout rates has been achieved by putting in a number of corrective measures in these institutions. He reported that the fall has been due to measures such as peer-assisted learning and appointment of advisors to measure a student's academic progress. While the progress is most impressive in other higher education institutions, where the dropout rates have gone down to 2.82% in 2020, a fraction of what they were in 2015. IITs have also seen good progress, reporting a dropout rate of 0.68% in 2020, which was 2.25% in 2015.
Last year, the Union Ministry Human Resource Development (MHRD) Minister Mr Ramesh Pokhrial Nishank had presented a data where it showed that out of 2,461 students who dropped out from these prestigious institutes of IITs in last two years belonged to the reserved category mostly. The data showed that out of the total number of dropout students in last two years, 371 belonged from the SC (Scheduled Caste), 199 from ST (Scheduled Tribe) and 601 from OBC (Other Backward Class) categories. While speaking on IIMs, the minister has put light on the statistics, that there were 14 Scheduled Caste, 21 Scheduled Tribe and 27 Other Backward Class Category students from the total number of 99 dropout students.
IIT and IIM Dropout Comparison in 2018-2019
This indicates that nearly 48% of IIT dropouts and over 62.6% of IIM dropouts are from the reserved categories. The dropout percentage for SC, ST and OBC category candidates is equal or more than the percentage of unreserved or general category, while the number of admissions of reserved candidates is far lower than unreserved category candidates. This is raising concerns among the experts. While this can be taken as a hint towards discrimination against these reserved category candidates, there are also questions raised against a caste-based seat reservation system in India that allows reserved candidates with much lower marks to take admission in an eminent institute.
The maximum dropouts among all the top IITs happen in IIT Delhi, where 782 candidates dropped out in las two years, of which 111 were Scheduled Caste, 84 Scheduled Tribe and 161 belonged from OBC candidates. Among all the IIMs most number of dropouts were seen in Indian Institute of Management - IIM Indore. A total of 17 students dropped out from IIM Indore in the past two years, among which 9 belonged from the reserved categories. IIM Indore is followed by IIM Kashipur where all the 13 dropouts belonged from the reserved category of which 2 year ST category and 11 were OBC category candidates.
The ministry of human resource development cited academic pressure as one of the prime reasons behind the dropouts. The experts wonder if the reserved category students face problems being in the academic race as lower cutoffs are accepted for them but once the admissions are done, the parameters for them become at par with the unreserved category students. There may be a lag for the reserved category students in coping up with the students who scored higher in merit previously.
The director of IIM Indore, Prof Himanshu Rai has not rejected the claim but also said that even general category students drop out from the institutes. The gap in cut-offs gets eradicated in higher academics during the programme.
Mr Rai suggested there are several reasons for dropouts which include not being able to meet up with the high academic standards, disinterest in the programme. Also, for some students, living alone far from home for the first time also take a toll. Stating that highest dropout statistics as ‘normal,’ Mr Rai said as IIM Indore enrols the most number of students there is nothing absurd that the dropout numbers are also high.
An IIT Delhi official said that the dropouts are mostly seen in the postgraduate classes as the students leave studies midway due to some lucrative job offers. Students who take admissions in IIT M.Tech courses after cracking GATE leave the institute as they get a handsome PSU Job offer or chance to study in foreign universities.
The same reasons as above were also cited by the report of HRD presented in the parliament including the reason for personal health issues as well. Te ministry suggested a bunch of policies including family counselling, peer learning, psychological motivation, extracurricular activities for addressing the issue of dropouts by de-stressing the students.
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