MUMBAI: In view of the second wave of the pandemic, some of the leading IITs are relaxing norms for the benefit of students. While IIT-Bombay has extended the deadline for re-exam till June, IIT-Kanpur has allowed a waiver of two courses (out of 40-45 courses) for graduating students. Apart from relaxing the attendance norms and submission deadlines, IIT-Delhi is allowing students to take the I-grade (an incomplete grade) based on self-certification (instead of a medical certificate). The I-grade will allow them to take the exam later when their mental and physical condition is better.
An official at IIT-Delhi said the institute extended the deadlines for submissions of projects and assignments and the faculty has been asked to go extra soft on students. While they had a policy of allowing students to audit elective courses based on their interests, now the institute is allowing the students to audit one core course as well. Auditing a course allows students to take a course, but the grade in that course will not impact the overall CGPI. However, students will have to get a pass grade in that course, said the official. The institute has also resolved that students can be given a D grade even with 30 marks, because of the pandemic.
At IIT-Kanpur the graduating students will be allowed to avail a waiver of 18 credits or two courses (out of approximately 40-45 courses in the four-year programme), said director, Abhay Karandikar. Many graduating students who have a backlog in one or two subjects will still be able to graduate and get their degrees with this waiver, said Karandikar, adding that it will bring relief and reduce students’ anxiety. In addition, they can also avail waiver for lab courses that were not offered in either semesters. The waiver was extended even last year and around 100 students availed it. The institute is also allowing no fail grade this semester and in some cases students can de-register and repeat the courses if need be.
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The senate at IIT-Bombay has resolved to give students an option to convert their lower grades into pass grades for projects. The institute has also requested all faculty to be considerate in grading students given the second wave, said deputy director (academics and infrastructural affairs), S Sudarshan. “Students have also been given time till June to complete their re-exams. Usually, the deadline is the end of May. This is to ensure students who have Covid emergencies at home, have enough time to recover before the exam,” said the professor.
Based on what other institutes are offering, students at IIT-Bombay have demanded an absolute no-fail policy. In an article in their campus magazine, Insight, the students pointed out that the institute did not make any changes to their failing policies despite the second wave. It could make sense to fail students if all students are getting equal opportunities to attend classes, to focus on academics and exams, they said. They demanded that no student be failed in any course in this semester unless they are guilty of malpractice.
Prof Sudarshan said that absolute no-fail policy cannot be an option at the institute, since most of the evaluation has already been done by the faculty members throughout the semester. And unlike last year, when the semester had to end abruptly, this year it had been completed. He added that faculty members have been asked to try avoiding the FR grade (failed without re-exam) and allow students to give at least an option of re-exam to clear the course.
IIT-Madras has allowed the faculty to be more flexible since May 2020. The institute has permitted viva-voce exams for modest sized classes, said a spokesperson.