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Remedial classes, fee waivers, English training...

IIM-A has ‘good lines of defence’

education Updated: Mar 14, 2012 10:38 IST

Many students at the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad need assistance in adjusting to the demands of a demanding course like theirs. For this and other issues, the institute boasts several lines of defence. Gopal Balakrishnan, general secretary, Students’ Affairs Council, 2012-2013, IIM-A, tells us about the services for students in need:

One important point is that IIM-A students do not have to disclose their category status — whether general, ST, SC, OBC or any other. This information is not available to students. For those who find it difficult to cope, the assistance provided is:

Moneywise: The institute is needs blind. No one is denied education on financial grounds. There are various fee waivers/ scholarships/ financial packages, some especially for SC, ST and OBC candidates and for those who cannot afford the fee.

Prep ’em up: Some students are identified by the faculty (at the interview stage) and asked to join a preparatory course in communication skills and MS Office and Excel. With about 10% of the batch enrolled, it is quite substantial and runs for a month before the regular course begin. This is again not on the basis of categories but for promising candidates who would need this extra bit of help because of their professional or educational background. This also takes care of candidates from the vernacular medium.

Peer tutoring: Students hold remedial sessions for each other. This is usually done two or three times every slot (each year is divided into six slots of exams and courses). These sessions are the best ways to brush up on every lost bit of topics. Since it’s being administered by students there is no pressure and no one feels inhibited asking questions. These can last for an hour or three to four hours per session.

Student mentors: More than 50 second-year seniors are linked with first-year students. Each mentor is responsible for eight or 10 students. The first year at IIM-A is rigorous and student mentors are usually the best way to navigate through this. The mentors are a point of contact for any and all situations and usually are assigned as soon as the admission letters are rolled out. The mentors remain so after graduating from the institute.

Development cell: The institute also has a Students’ Personal and Career Development Centre (SPCDC) for individual cases. The centre has a professional counsellor. The students’ council works makes sure that the facility and its benefits is well known throughout the student community.

Dorms, too, help: There are 19-39 friends who share their lives. A dorm representative and a group of friends are always available for any student, and can usually detect the first signs of trouble. In each of these steps, the students’ council is the enabler.