16 Jan 2021 00:51 IST

Comparing IITs to foreign universities

How would you compare foreign universities with our IITs and other Indian engineering institutes? - Dinesh

The rigorousness of the IITs is comparable to most other top universities in the world, whether in teaching or examinations. Few other institutes in India can match that, except Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) and National Institute of Design (NID).

However, the IITs lag in practical application and remain theoretically focused. When the students complete their course, they are not practically equipped. Most other top universities have much more practical applications than the IITs. There is a lot of weightage for non-exam approaches in top foreign universities. You read a little bit, you go and apply — do an experiment, come out with some products — that is how they teach.

The other area where IIT lags is flexibility. Most other top universities give students the option to change branches any time during the course. The system is very rigid in the IITs. Students may have to go through four years of a programme simply because they chose it in their first year. This is one of the reasons why we see students, at the end of four years, switch to financial studies or appear for Common Admission Test (CAT) for business schools or attempt civil services entrance exams. They drop engineering because they do not like the subject they have completed.

(The writer is the founder of the coaching institute Ahaguru.)