There are two ways to attract great talent - one, to compete with everyone else for the same talent, and two, to spot talent in places where others are not looking. We did this with our PhD program right in the beginning - trying to attract students right after BTech including those who did not give GATE. It paid rich dividends. We tried an experiment where we allowed non-science students (but those who have studied Maths in 12th class) for admission to BTech (Computer Science) but we did not receive many applications. Before we started admitting students jointly with other Delhi government institutions, we used to admit students based on ranking in an aptitude test. This, again, gave us excellent students. When we joined the joint admission process based on JEE, we also introduced the bonus marks scheme where an applicant could get his/her JEE score increased by up to 10 percent based on various achievements that s/he may have, including curricular (Olympiads, NTSE, etc.), or extra-curricular (sports, chess, cultural, etc.). We have been able to attract many good students who wouldn't have been able to make it purely based on JEE score.
From the coming year, we are starting a new program called, BTech (Information Technology and Social Science). The program will consists of all the core courses of Information Technology and a few electives, as well as several courses in humanities and social sciences, at least 4 courses each in two disciplines, and a few foundation courses and a few electives. The idea is to prepare individuals who have a strong grounding in social sciences, but are equally at ease with Computer Science. Later, they can take up careers which are typically open to CS and IT graduates, or take up careers (or for that matter, higher education), which are typically open to graduates of broad based social science programs. A program which is unique in the country, and which we believe is the need of the hour.
While discussing the intake for this program, we felt that not only we should try admitting non-science students once again because we can admit great talent that way, but also the students from non-science background would add value to this program by bringing in a different perspective in the classroom. So we are doing a small little experiment. Within the Delhi quota (as a Delhi Government institute, we admit most students from Delhi only), half the students will be from science background (and admitted along with our other BTech programs, that is, through the JEE route), and half the students will be from non-science backgrounds (and admitted on the basis of 12th class marks). After a year or two, we will review the performance of all students and see if any change in admission policy is needed. But we are really excited about teaching students from non-science background.
Will really appreciate if you inform anyone who is giving board exams in Delhi about this program.
BTech Admissions 2017 @ IIIT-Delhi
BTech Program in Information Technology and Social Science
Note: There is another new program, Computer Science and Design, this year. Will write a blog on that later.
Added on 19th March:
Blog by Prashant Bhattacharji