The following is an opinion piece by a freshman on the institute advisory for students against bringing laptops in their first year.
A general chitchat with some of my non IITK friends with whom I shared a rule brought nuances of laughter to the conversation. I’m talking about a quite peculiar advisory issued by IIT Kanpur more than a decade ago – first year students are strongly discouraged to bring a laptop (or the ban of laptops; depends on how you perceive it). Though this informal discussion with my friends was not a very significant one but it portrayed an image of the institute contrary to the freedom that IIT-K is famed to provide. My four month stay on campus prompts me to talk of this anachronism of a rule.
IITs boast of the great technology advancements and even propose an online JEE advance exam while such a restriction is imposed, this puts me in a dilemma and forces me to have a look at the possible reasons that led to the formulation of this rule. The concerns of the administrative faculty like immaturity, possibility of watching TV series, decreasing social interaction and most important ‘low CPI’ seems relevant but isn’t the step a bit over the line? After all each one of us has cleared jee and is sensible enough to judiciously use his time.
But is the rule able to achieve the objectives which seem to be the basis of its origin is again a matter of debate. Now more than ten years down the line everyone has a smart phone in his/her pocket, which along with the on campus internet facility can cause same or maybe greater level of distraction. Every small thing like checking the webmail is being done on the mobile phone. Moreover it brings along a new problem: ‘health issue’. Focusing your eye on a 5 inch screen rather than a 15 inch screen is any day going to cause a more adverse effect on your eyes, a big problem currently faced by the youth of the country.
Also what if a student wishes to learn something beyond the normal curriculum, say curiosity to explore his branch, this rules at times is a hindrance in doing so. Though I don’t disagree that one can always overcome it by his determination but I and maybe many had faced problem of not having a personal laptop while practicing for hackathons. At the same time, I appreciate that our institute is not so rigid and allows first year students to bring laptop for projects like ‘Robocon’,’ AUV’ and many others.
With due respect to the concerned authorities, I believe that with the passage of time, change is inevitable. We need to introspect if we are doing something which others are not. I guess there exists scope for some amendments.
As per that chitchat is concerned I may forget it when I come in my second year and get my laptop along but the question is will the things ever change. Will the laptop ban ever wither away?
Written by Harshit Bhalla