This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Apeksha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

IIT Gandhinagar: An Institute That Makes A Difference

More from Apeksha

It is that time of the year when students are in the process of getting or not getting admission in various colleges and universities after the declaration of results of Class 12 and various competitive exams. Social media platforms and numerous educational websites are flooded with questions along the lines of which branch or stream should be preferred, whether single or dual degree should be considered, the career prospects of a particular branch and so on.

Since college life forms the baseline of a strong career, students and their parents want to gather all the possible information about all institutes of their interest before proceeding towards making a commitment with one of them.

Only 2% of all the applicants appearing in different entrance examinations for various degree programs every year are able to gain admission at an Indian Institute of Technology! I have always wondered why the selection process is so difficult. What makes IITs different from other institutes? Why are IITs the dream of many Indian students? Why do parents and teachers sacrifice everything just to see their children studying there?

I got the answer to all these questions as soon as I joined IIT Gandhinagar as an MTech student in Biological Engineering. To explain briefly, IITs extensively promote the concept of practical applications of studies to solve real-world problems. Students get numerous opportunities to meet the most eminent scientists, professors, Nobel Laureates of their respective fields and are also eligible for fellowships, financial assistance on projects, scholarships, student exchanges, internships and research programs with universities like MIT, Cambridge, Stanford and Harvard.

In terms of salary, the job packages of IIT-ians are 137% higher than other institutes of India. They have access to laboratories containing world-class equipments and take regular quizzes, competitions and examinations based on rigorous interactions with their professors which encourage them to brainstorm the most feasible solutions. They are also highly encouraged to pursue their hobbies and extra-curricular activities in the form of numerous sports, activities, fests, celebrations and outings which positively shape an all round development. Hence, the students do not have to go looking for opportunities. If they are a part of an IIT, they are presented with such countless options every single day!

IIT Gandhinagar builds on top of the IIT system and frameworks, but being a young and vibrant institution, it has also leveraged several new ideas to create unique opportunities for its students. IIT Gandhinagar is driven by its core principle of students first. It is among the most globalized campuses in India with vibrant options to study abroad and visiting faculty exchange programs with renowned universities across almost all continents. A large number of undergraduate and research scholars receive opportunities in the form of a semester overseas, research internships, summer programs, etc.

Students at IIT Gandhinagar. (Photo: IIT Gandhinagar/Facebook)

This institute supports its students with the liberal branch change policies, flexible curriculum, leadership, self-governance, cutting-edge research, open-door policy (friendly student-faculty interactions) and exciting placement opportunities. The institute offers a large number of first of its kind initiatives:

1) the Invent@IITGN – originated in the USA, this is a six-week program promoting students to conceive of an invention, prototype it, pitch it, write and file a US patent application for it, and compete for prizes,

2) a non-degree program – students of institutes other than an IIT can take part-time or full-time courses and spend an entire semester at IIT Gandhinagar for credit or perform research,

3) the Foundation Program – a five-week program for incoming first-year students focused on creativity, leadership and communication, ethics, social awareness and physical fitness,

4) the Explorers Fellowship – a six-week summer fellowship for students to discover India’s cultural diversity by visiting minimum six states on a shoestring budget of ₹900 per day for travel, accommodation, food, and other living expenses,

5) Project Oriented Learning – emphasizes on learning by doing,

and others like the Tinkerer Lab, Makers’ Space, Active Research Park, and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre.

The institute comprises of strong faculty with more than 50% having a PhD from leading overseas institutions. The average publications record in 2017 was 3.2 publications per faculty. Overall growth is promoted in the form of workshops and conferences, with nearly 40% overseas experiences, programs like Earn While You Learn, student-managed technology conclave Amalthea and cultural fests like Jashn. One of the core features is the interdisciplinary interaction with 7 interdisciplinary research centres!

Many members of faculty are part of multiple disciplines and many students have PhD advisors/Principal Investigator/Co-PI from a discipline other than their own. There are no department buildings and no heads of departments. The research infrastructure is commonly shared and not monopolized by departments.

IIT Gandhinagar is rated as India’s first five-star GRIHA LD (Green) campus for minimizing the negative impact on the environment with comprehensive solid waste management system, solar water heaters, biogas plant, water-less urinals and central water treatment plant. It was also recently declared India’s first five-star campus for ensuring food safety and promoting healthy eating. The institute also contributes to the local community, through formal and informal initiatives, outreach activities and educational engagement. In the words of the IIT Council, “the exemplary practices of IIT Gandhinagar (labor welfare and community outreach) should be introduced in all IITs.”

Although the online platforms do shed some light on crucial aspects of taking admission in a particular institute, they lack the essence of detailed discussion which is possible only when people gather at a place to express and share their experiences, thoughts, and exchange notes in face to face conversations! An initiative by IIT Gandhinagar to encourage this style of brainstorming is the Open House, which happens every year and is a perfect opportunity for JEE qualified students and their parents to interact with the faculty, students and alumni of this institute so that they can make an informed decision about their future.

Featured image source: IIT Gandhinagar/Facebook.
You must be to comment.

More from Apeksha

Similar Posts

By Paribha Vashist

By Natasa Aziz

By Shazia Sheikh

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below