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IIT Madras for All: A course designed to empower economically weaker students

IIT Madras for All: A course designed to empower economically weaker students

Anaivarukkum IITM (IIT Madras for All) is an initiative for students from economically weaker sections of the society.

Last Monday, the Supreme Court upheld by a 3-2 majority the 10% quota for the economically weaker sections (EWS) in educational institutions and government jobs, saying it was not discriminatory and did not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.

Without getting into the definition of EWS, the director of IIT Madras, Prof V Kamakoti, told FE that a mechanism was needed for uplifting the poor regardless of caste or any other social strata.

“I belong to rural India, I studied in rural schools, and I know that the amount of exposure the poor children get, the amount of access to quality education the poor children get is not what others get,” he said. “It is my firm belief that if you provide them with the right orientation, they can scale heights.”

IIT Madras has been working towards empowerment of poor students for a long time, and the latest initiative towards that goal is Anaivarukkum IITM (IIT Madras for All).

Recently, IIT Madras granted admission to 87 students from government and corporation schools in the institute’s BS (Bachelor of Science) programme under Anaivarukkum IITM. These 87, including 39 female students, come from 20 districts of Tamil Nadu, and have received admissions for the BS degree in Data Science and Applications, a four-year course that was introduced by IIT Madras in 2021 with the aim of making the IIT’s quality education accessible to all.

In an effort to make quality education affordable and available to all, IIT Madras also provides income-based scholarships of up to 75% for students pursuing the BS degree. In addition, students who qualified through a collaborative effort with Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing Development Corporation (TAHDCO) will receive full financial support from the government of Tamil Nadu.

The course is designed to offer students multiple entry and exit options where the learner can earn a certificate, diploma or degree. This provides flexibility to learners and empowers them to choose what they want to accomplish through this programme, which imparts highly sought-after industry-relevant knowledge and skills that would enhance employability. In addition, students who graduate with a BS degree will be eligible to appear for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) and pursue MTech in India or apply to postgraduate degrees offered by universities abroad.

“The Anaivarukkum IITM initiative aims to increase the number of government school students who are enrolled in our BS programme. We are excited that the first batch of students through this initiative has now been admitted. We aim to grow this further and make quality education accessible to all, regardless of their socioeconomic status,” said Prof Kamakoti.

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