Control theory

h2Had read this news last month that IIT Mumbai (also called IIT Bombay) plans to put some controls on internet access in its hostels (Stop surfing). BTW, don’t go by the headlines alone. The idea is to cut you out from 23:00 to 00:30 hrs – 1.5 hrs of control, thats it.

“There has been a decline in academic performance and also participation in sporting, cultural and social activities has gone down,” he (Dean of Students Affairs) says.

So which one of the two is the real reason there? Should the IIT be bothered whether their students socialize or not? Or is it about decline in academic performance?

But if you really want to kill your time on non-academic matters, there are several avenues available. How about those mobile phones? Television (in common room)? Those bars outside the campus? Late night fast food joint inside the campus? Those hopeful trips students make to H10 and H11 :) ? Why not exercise some control on these fronts as well!? Perhaps not, because one way or the other, all of these are perfectly social activities in traditional sense!

I am guessing that students not socializing may wasn’t the main issue. It shouldn’t be. IIT’s academic reputation is their business, so they can better justify decline in academic performance as the reason for this control.

Regardless, the debate around the news did sound similar to the one about restricting Internet use at work. Does it impact productivity? Does it reduce office socialization? I can argue that it does. And you can counter argue that it does not, at least not significantly enough. But once I enter my work, isn’t my productivity my employer’s business? Look at what is happening though. Internet at work is increasingly seen as a perk, and ‘choice’ comes in – I will pick an employer that gives me open Internet and trusts me to manage my time between work and surf.

Students in our country, unfortunately, don’t have such luxury of choice – less than a dozen IITs in our country of one billion people. And ironically enough, most take pride in the fact that oceans write JEE and few drops get in!


3 Responses

  1. I don’t see how cutting Internet from 11:00 PM-12:30 AM will help in the participation of sporting, cultural and social activities!!! Academics, now that is a whole different thing!

  2. midnight table tennis was real fun!

    – s.b.

  3. Chitra, they probably want the students to get some sleep during this time!

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