For the first time, IIT Delhi has made summer internships optional for its students. Encouraged by the ever-increasing success stories of startups, IIT Delhi has taken a never done before step in its five-and-half decade history.
From this academic year, apart from the summer internship, third-year students can opt for live projects in subjects like robotics and design-based learning, or pick up any other hobby project after consulting the department. Until last year, it was mandatory for everyone to go for a 10-week internship, which often helped students secure job offers.
"Aspirations and interests of the students are changing. Not all students now want to go to the industry for training. Many want to try their hands on entrepreneurship. In addition, a few want to pursue higher studies," said IIT Delhi dean - academics Anurag Sharma.
While some IITs still insist of internships, others like IIT Bombay allow students to choose other engagements as well.
On the same note, IIT Kanpur and IIT Roorkee prefer students opting for summer internships but due to paucity of good companies around their locations, they have made it optional. According to a faculty member at IIT Kanpur, almost every year there is a debate to make internship compulsory.
Though more and more students from top institutes are choosing to work on their own products and businesses, companies don't seem to be concerned about any shortage of talent as the number of engineering and technical institutes is growing as well in the country. "If a few IITs decide that they will not encourage internships, we will go to non-IIT institutes," a leading oncampus recruiter said.
IIT Delhi, meanwhile, has renamed its summer internship programme 'Design and Practical Experience'. The design and practical experience will now fetch five non-graded points for the students in their third year.
To get their degree, students have to earn 15 non-graded points in all. Two points can be earned through projects such as on robotics, designing, car-race designing and other hobby projects. Starting from this year, IIT Delhi will give non-graded points to language learning, communication skills, ethics and social responsibility.
At IIT Kharagpur, an eight-week summer internship is mandatory. "Both at the undergraduate level and the master's level for integrated degree, summer internship is compulsory," said chairman of Career Development Centre SK Barai. This is the route to get the pre-placement offers and hence will not be done away with, he added.
IIT Roorkee wants its students joining internship in their third year but it sees a problem. "Not all companies are really keen on teaching or training our students. They just take interns for the sake of it and this exercise becomes useless for our students," said director Pradipta Banerji. IIT Roorkee encourages its students to join academic research institutes abroad.
Nevertheless, Roorkee has intensified its engagement with industry to give a platform to the students for practical training. "We are in the process of signing more MoUs for research and development and this will help our students in getting access to live training," Banerji said.