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IIMs doing their bit to make classrooms inclusive

education Updated: Sep 21, 2016 13:26 IST
Rozelle Laha
Rozelle Laha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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Extra classes, specially designed revision courses for students at IIMs to help students perform better.(HT Photo)

A typical Indian Institute of Management (IIM) classroom comprises graduates from diverse backgrounds – engineering, commerce, medical, arts and humanities and law.

As every IIM has the autonomy to frame the curriculum for post graduate programmes in management (PGP) – the flagship programme for IIMs – the institutes are doing their bit to ensure that the curriculum is inclusive. No student from a particular background has an advantage.

IIM Ahmedabad, when asked by HT Education about diversity, responded: “The postgraduate programme in management covers a wide range of first courses from diverse functional areas such as communication, HR, economics, finance, operations, and statistics. In the second year, students take elective courses of their choice. Hence, no student from any particular academic background has an advantage and all are equally encouraged to apply.”

Read more: IIM bill: Filling up faculty quota seats will be tough, say directors

However, despite all attempts to ensure that every student in the classroom finds the curriculum easy, “In the first year, engineers will find quantitative techniques easier, non-engineers (might) find it difficult. Business policy, strategy, business environment courses in the second year are neither friendly to non-engineers nor to engineering graduates,” says Professor Prafulla Agnihotri, director, IIM Trichy.

To ensure that students don’t feel left out because of their educational background, IIMs are going the extra mile to help them.

IIM Trichy offers “tutorials in quantitative methods as well as accounting and finance courses to assist all those who may need extra support,” says Abhishek Totawar, chairperson, placement and external relations.

IIM Udaipur, right after admissions, expects all students to take up a short online mathematics course on the institute’s website. Students are expected to complete the hour-based exercises and quizzes by paying `5,000. “Those who score 70% in the course are eligible to get a refund of 75% of the enrollment fee. We encourage everybody to go through it even if students have not done basic level for three years. This way, we are trying to ensure that students get to do some basic revision before they come into the classroom. We also recognise students who have difficulty in following a particular subject and schedule regular tutorials to help them catch up,” says Professor Janat Shah, director, IIM Udaipur.

It is also not necessary for every student to clear each subject, Shah adds. Even if they score a D grade in up to four papers and still manage to get the minimum CGPA in the aggregate, it is fine. “We understand people come from different backgrounds. We allow this flexibility. If they do well in some and badly in some and choose their career accordingly, it is fine.” Professor Anindya Sen, director, IIM Ranchi adds, “Usually many courses do not need prerequisites and if anything is needed, it is taught either in class or with extra hours.”

Statistics, accounting and financial reporting are some courses which non-commerce graduates might find difficult. However, most experts believe that it is a myth that MBA is commerce-based, “Engineering students in general perform better than commerce students even in finance-related courses,” says Sen.

Making life easier for all

1. Extra classes in subjects like accounting and statistics for non-commerce graduates are conducted across IIMs on regular basis.These subjects are taught in a slow-paced manner, making it easy for them to grasp the content

2. Specially designed revision courses for students after they make it to the IIMs and before the classes start, help them update their knowledge of math and catch up. This, experts believe, is extremely helpful for those who plan to join IIMs after working for two to three years

3. One need not pass in all the subjects. Scoring low in an particular paper doesn’t mean that the student needs to repeat the semester