In India's hallowed IITs, SC, ST and Hindi-medium students face uphill struggle
In the IITs, academic requirement are stringent and students from Hindi medium schools, have a lot of learning to do
IITs [Indian Institutes of Technology] rank among the best colleges in India. But in the past two years, more than 2400 students have dropped their studies. About half of these are from the SC and ST [scheduled caste/scheduled tribe] categories. Hundreds of students from both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the 23 Indian Institute of Technologies in the country have abandoned the course.
According to data provided by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, 2,461 students in various IT courses dropped out. Of these, 1,290 belong to the general category. The remaining 1,171 students are from the SC, ST and OBC [other backward classes] categories.
Most students drop out are in the old IITs.
“Most drop outs are from undergraduate and PhD courses. This can be due to many things. Moving to other colleges, personal or health reasons or getting a job in the PG course or going abroad." Withdrawal or poor academic performance of students can result in health or personal problems.
But experts attribute the dropouts to pressure and caste discrimination. An IIT professor, who did not want to be named, said that most of the students who had stopped studying at the undergraduate level found it difficult to meet the requirements of the course. Students who come out of Hindi medium have a great deal of learning to do.
Many get a job after getting admission in M.Tech, and drop out. But the proportion of SC, ST students who drop out is very high compared to the proportion of learners. Social activists say that it is often due to caste discrimination.
Documentary filmmaker Anoop Kumar says caste-based oppression in ITs is not direct and systematic. Kumar's documentary "Death of Merit" was about students who committed suicide due to caste discrimination. “Most of the students coming to IITs in the reserved category are from non-English medium backgrounds. Institutions do not ensure that students take remedial courses. These students have no shortage of merit. But they have difficulties because of language problems, ”said Anoop Kumar.
[Autotranslated from Malayalam]