What are your views on the recent expulsion of 73 students from IIT Roorkee on academic grounds?
I wish I had some sort of superhuman power to reverse this decision. For the first time in my life I am finding it difficult to write an answer, not that I can't write, but the emotions right now are so high. I don't know those 73 students, but still I feel as if this happened with me. I don't know if this answer will make any sense to most of you, but you if you have ever tried to do something on your own in life, rather than people spoon-feeding you, you will understand. I have just combined bits and pieces, and some personal experience.Those who are justifying this decision comparing masters and undergrad program, please don't. You sound very stupid when you do that. Even in my masters program, there was a condition that funding may not be guaranteed if performance after 1st year is poor. Which is very normal because the university admitted me to do some serious research, not to time-pass. But this is bachelors we are talking about and that too in India. Most students don't even know what they want to do in life so early.For the answer: No. Absolutely Not. The worst decision I can imagine. Okay I understand that they underperformed and that they should have done better irrespective of the situation. But expelling is not justified. The very first thing is that GPA is not an indicator of intelligence or capability. Of all the good things IIT R could learn from the other, older 6 IITs, it learned to expel students. When I was there, there were many courses, forced, that just didn't make any sense and served no purpose at all. Even the electives were so pathetic that they didn't even deserve to be called electives. It is very easy to lose interest in the course structure itself. Some lose because they want to do advanced studies some lose due to the such courses.First of all, students get selected through a central examination. It is not that IIT R selected them based on their different examination. They do not (or should i say, should not have) have the authority to take such a decision. Okay they are legally covered for doing that but that doesn't mean they should do that. Talking about legality, you can put all the gay people in jail in India --- but if you have some morality left in you, you won't do that right?Moreover:IIT R has a flexible course structure? --- Answer is: NO!!So they have no right to expel students. Lets take EE department for example --- they are still teaching courses from 1980s something. Many students lose interest in their courses, it is a very normal thing. To all those who are justifying this decision --- have you even seen the course structure of IIT Roorkee? Although expulsion just doesn't make sense, just give them a warning to perform in second year, but still if IIT Bombaty or IIT Kanpur had taken such a decision, I would have tried to make myself understand. But IIT R, no just doesn't make sense. Here's more to why ---Now I am giving you a personal example :- I myself graduate with a GPA of 6.275 (ok agreed much above 5, but doesn't matter, the context is more important). Contrary to popular beliefs (mostly among non-iitians, and some iitians), due to low gpa, I wasn't time-passing or under-performing. I was doing some serious research and for that I had to give up my courses (which to me were useless and just didn't make sense) and the GPA itself. - In 2022. I started delivering my own lectures/tutorials through a website that I started for the purpose. For doing this I had to give up GPA and courses.- In 2022 right after I finished B. Tech, thanks to all those years of research, I published my first paper and two other papers were submitted for review. - In 2022. again thanks to all those years of research and not following IIT R courses --- not running after GPA, I published 2 more papers in top conferences, out of my research intern in Israel, and that prof still considers me as one of his finest interns.- Again thank god I didn't go after the GPA and focused on research while at IIT R, I published another paper in August 2012.- Again thanks to my research, I was selected in the CS masters program at Univ. of Alberta.- Again thanks to my research at IIT R, and thanks to not following courses, which I found to be useless, or running after GPA, in 2022 I published a paper in the most prestigious robotics Journal.- Again thanks to my Research, and not going after the GPA at IITR, and doing advanced studies, graduate courses looked so easy. In 2022 I published 2 more papers. - Again thanks to my research at IIT R and not maintaining GPA or following courses which I found to be ill-logical, I applied to Phd programs in 2022 for Fall 2022 and got admitted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst CS Dept.- Again thanks to that time spent at IIT R not running after the GPA or the courses that I found to be useless, I gained enough confidence that I declined PhD offer and came back to India to build my own robotics company.Wondering why I mentioned all that? Here's the answer in next 2 paragraphs:I am not saying that I am some kind of genius, but having published 8 or 9 papers without even doing a PhD I think I have at least achieved something if not very big, in academic research, and most of the paper are from self-initiated research. And it all happened because I didn't follow the course structure, gave up the GPA, and did self-study and self-initiated research. It is very easy, especially at IIT Roorkee --- the inflexible course structure, for anyone to give up courses for whatever reason. In my case it was because I wanted to do cutting edge research right from the 1st year and IIT R, yes the so called OLDEST ENGINEERING COLLEGE IN INDIA (or ASIA?) didn't prme that research environment so much so that I had to take a drastic decision to give up my GPA knowing that with low GPA it would be very difficult for me to get in the top 5 or top 10 PhD programs! I don't know the reason why those 73 students underperformed, and frankly, it doesn't even matter --- expulsion just doesn't make sense! IIT R, at the very least, should follow older 5 IIT s and formulate a flexible course structure. Build that environment where students get motivated to do better or to attend classes or take interest in courses. You should allow students to take some of the courses of other departments. Introduce the "Major and Minor" concepts. For now, for god's sake, just give them a warning to perform in 2nd year and then expel if they don't perform after 1 more year. You don't know or don't realize, dear IIT R, but you might just have killed a Ramanujan, or Bose, or Einstein with that decision of expulsion.Addition: Sharing a short story for those who are bashing (in may different forums) students for not following courses or for questioning the ability of the system or blaming students for being hindrance in the improvement process. Students clearing JEE don't know about different rules and mindset of admin at IIT R. So do not blame students for joining IITs and then not following courses, without knowing the situation. This is specifically about IIT Roorkee.During my stay at IIT R I did everything I could to make professors understand the importance of giving students a choice and to improve the conditions of at least the EE department. I learned, starting from 8-bit 8085 all the way up to intel 80386, a 32-bit processor, including all the numerical co processors as well by the end of my 3rd semester. I then approached to XYZ professor to help me study further the electronics courses by introducing some of them in our department or allowing students to take them or at least allow me to take them --- you know what the response was --- "Well Sanjeev, there will be very few who would be interested, and I don't think other than you anyone would be interested and I don't think it would be worth allowing a single student to do so" (he said many more things but I have mentioned the 3 key points) --- I am not sure if majority of you will understand how critical that response was. That doesn't help students. I gave up the electronics and processors interest as I found interest in AI and then professors of my department started disliking me for not paying attention to "Electrical Courses" and some even questioned me "aap to micorprocessors me interested the na, phir ye kya hua achanak" --- you were interested in microprocessors so what happened now.Addition: People have asked "after giving all the time in self-study/research you managed to score above 6 so don't you think 5 is appropriate criteria?"NO! When I was doing all those things there was no fear of being expelled. Fear is a greatest hindrance in progress. I didn't care about D's or Cs'. But if there was some fear of being expelled, I wouldn't have done as much research/study as I did. What IIT R is saying to future students is this: You better not do any self-study or independent-research or follow your passion. You better follow only the courses no matter how outdated they are (sounds like a dictatorship?). If you try to do anything else, you better be fearful, we have the power to expel you. With this hard line criteria, anyone taking up research in undergrad will think twice before doing so. Because you never know if you score below 5 --- most of the other students will be following/studying only the courses.I feel that this issue is even bigger than those 73 students. We not only need IIT Roorkee to take those students back, but also remove this nonsensical rule altogether. This rule will affect current and the students that will join IIT R in future. This will stop students from doing something unique. We all complain that IITs rank nowhere when compared to foreign institutes, in terms of the quality of research. With this rule in place, if other IITs also incorporate it, the conditions will further deteriorate.