The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has a one-year preparatory programme for SC/ST candidates who are not able to clear the Joint Entrance Examination in the first attempt, a counselling cell with one full-time and at least one part-time counsellor, an English course for all students who need help in the language, faculty advisers assigned to students from the same departments and mentors from the third year “who are like big brothers or sisters” of other students from the same hostel. The prep course covers physics, chemistry, maths and English.
“When the students come in the first year, in the orientation session, we talk about stress management,” says Shashi Mathur, Dean (Students), IIT-D. “The counsellors go to the hostels, and give talks on topics such as alcoholism, stress management, inter-personal and intra-personal relationships. For the last years, out of 100 hours of NSS, NSO and NCC work, we have made 10 hours of counselling mandatory.” Rupa Murghai, counsellor, Student Counselling Service, IIT-D, says, “A two-hour orientation session is compulsory for new joinees. There is also an orientation session for parents, which is compulsory.” According to Murghai, about 80% of the parents attend the session when they come to drop their children at the time of admission. “We also encourage peers to refer students for counselling.”
The faculty are tasked with giving “consultation time” to their assignees outside classes. “The course advisers, who are faculty from the respective departments, have a number of students -- about 10 -- attached to each of them. The faculty identifies students who are weak and give special attention to them.” Murghai adds that 10 sessions by professors are a must for students with academic problems. Teachers are also asked to make referrals. “We have a weak students’ review meeting twice a session in which I appeal to the faculty” to look out for signs of trouble, she says.
As far as language skills are concerned, all incoming enrolees, regardless of their category, take a sort of screening test. “All those (including the general category) who are not able to clear an English test have to take an English language course,” says Mathur.