Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Monday chose to break a rule so long prevalent in Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) across the country when she wondered why students receiving degrees were debarred from clapping and applauding in convocations.
“Even as we were entering the convocation hall, I heard from outside an announcement that students and others including their parents should not clap, applaud and smile when the convocation was on. But isn’t it a great moment in lives of all these meritorious students? Why should they be stopped from applauding on such an important day of life that is marked with an achievement of passing out from a great institution like IIT?” she asked, as students and parents alike began applauding loud.
Apologizing for having broken a rule that was there for long, she also took note that even as the students began clapping, the teachers were watching them from behind breaking the rule. “As students were all applauding, I could see the teachers looking at them break the rule, at the same time thinking – politicians are like this only; they encourage the students but do nothing for the teachers. I want to tell you all, I have spoken to the chairman, and he has agreed to institute a medal for the best female teacher too,” Irani said.
She also announced an award comprising of Rs 1 lakh for IIT teachers who would be able to come out with innovative ideas that would contribute towards improving teaching. “Teachers after all comprise the backbone of human resource development in our country,” she said. She also called upon IIT-ians to look at teaching as a career. “The IIT Guwahati director has told me how the students have already found very good placements. But I want to know how many of you brilliant students want to come back here to teach. It is very important to inspire and attract brilliant students to teaching,” Irani said.
The minister also announced a new scheme called “T-10k-T” to be run by IIT Guwahati, under which IIT-G in collaboration with IIT Kharagpur will train 10,000 school teachers of Assam in mathematics and science. The programme was decided upon right on the stage itself after Assam education minister Sarat Borkataki made a request, Irani said.
Altogether 1117 students received their degrees from IIT Guwahati in Monday’s convocation. They comprised of 578 who received B Tech and B Des degrees, 267 who received M Tech and M Des degrees and 124 who received their PhDs.
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