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How Indian Institutes Of Technology (IITs) Dealt With COVID-19 In Year 2020

With many higher education institutions closing down to contain the spread of infection, Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) didn’t leave a stone unturned to keep the students safe while also maintaining the learning environment.

This year, for the first time in history, the colleges and schools across the nation were forced to shut down. This year students wore masks and learned the concepts of ‘social distancing’ and ‘online education’. It’s the year when students faced anxiety due to multiple postponements of exams and graduated virtually. 2020 was the year of COVID-19.

When the year began, COVID-19 wasn’t much of a concern for most in India. Certainly, there were distant rumours of a sickness spreading in China, but the threat felt far away. However, the situation turned upside as we stepped in the month of March.

With many higher education institutions closing down to contain the spread of infection, Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) didn’t leave a stone unturned to keep the students safe while also maintaining the learning environment.

Here’s how IITs handled the situation:

IITs cancelled lectures and vacated campuses

IIT Delhi cancelled its classes and semester examinations on March 13 due to COVID-19 outbreak. Initially, the international students were allowed to stay inside the hostels but were asked to go back home after the declaration of the nationwide lockdown on March 25.

IIT Bombay closed down on March 18 and asked the hostellers to vacate by March 30. It later announced early summer vacations from April 1 to May 31 and an online summer semester for final year B.Tech and dual degree students.

IIT Kharagpur campus was shut down along with nationwide lockdown. It asked the hostellers to vacate rooms by June 20 but 400 students stayed back who were facing difficulties in shifting immediately.

IITs launched specialised online courses

While the IITs were holding classes in online mode, IIT Madras launched an online BSc degree programme with a specialisation in programming and data sciences. It also started a unique initiative to provide online lectures for Class 12 engineering students who would appear for competitive examinations.

IIT Bombay introduced self-paced courses on online teaching to help the faculty in conducting classes. IIT Indore launched a unique online course to impart mathematical and scientific knowledge with help of Sanskrit scriptures.

IIT Kharagpur developed e-classrooms for teachers named Deekshak in which they were taught methods of online teaching.

Reopening and closing of IIT campuses

IIT Madras had to shut down its institute again on December 14 after a spike in COVID-19 cases with more than 66 students being tested positive, while IIT Delhi gave the option for early graduation by allowing students to choose for ‘audit pass or fail’ as per which their mid-semester exams and previous semester exams would be considered and on the basis of it students would get their result.

Online convocation ceremonies

IIT-Madras held a unique and a first-of-its-kind convocation using “mixed reality” (MR) where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in rea-ltime. IIT Bombay held its convocation in August using virtual reality and digital avatars of students were awarded degrees using the technology. IIT Kanpur awarded medals online. IIT Roorkee also held a virtual convocation.

Placements at IITs amid COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t impact the placements in the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology as the packages for domestic companies have seen a sharp rise to about Rs 80 lakh this year for all top IITs, including IIT- Delhi, Madras, Bombay, Roorkee and Guwahati.

IITs across the country have kicked off their placement drives in the first week of December with record job offers and high salary packages. Despite the changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of offers has significantly increased at several IITs.

IIT Delhi students bagged over 300 placement offers, including pre-placement offers (PPOs). “Given the situation this year, a new company scheduling paradigm has been conceptualised for a smooth placement process. This is to create an optimum environment for both the recruiters and the students for a seamless selection process. Given the fact that all selection processes are being conducted in a virtual mode this year, the entire interview process would span a single day instead of multiple shifts unlike past years and many other campuses,” an IIT Delhi official said.

IIT Madras informed that the institute had bagged over 750 offers. Students at IIT Roorkee were offered over 700 jobs. As per a statement issued by IIT Roorkee, the top domestic offer has been made at Rs 80 lakh per annum. As many as 147 recruiters taking part in the placement session.

In IIT BHU, 217 students have bagged jobs with annual CTC ranging from Rs 11.5 lakh to 64.27 lakh. Last year, it was Rs 10 lakh to Rs 58.21 lakh. In IIT-Madras, a total of 123 offers were made by 222 companies during day one’s session, higher in any of the preceding years.

At IIT Bombay, there were 18 companies who participated in the placement drive on December 1. According to a statement from the institute, for domestic jobs, the highest number of offers came from Microsoft, Google, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Boston Consulting Group, and Apple. Amsterdam-based proprietary trading firm Optiver, meanwhile, made lucrative international offers.

At IIT Kharagpur, 30 companies participated and over 130 placement offers have been extended to the final year students on the first day. In addition to the domestic firms, International firms- TSMC, Sony-Japan and Cohesity US offered jobs as well.