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IIT Madras conducts Diploma / Degree Distribution Ceremony for BS Data Science Students

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) conducted the 2nd edition of the Diploma and Degree Distribution for the students of 4-year BS in Data Science and Applications program on Saturday (27th May 2023) in the presence of Mr. Venkat Viswanathan, CEO, Latentview Analytics, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, faculty, and students.

Launched in 2020, this Program has evolved as one of the top non-campus degree programs in India with more than 16,500 students currently enrolled. The BS program has now completed seven academic terms. With 18 students completing the credit requirements of the BSc degree in less than 2.5 years, the program has achieved a major milestone. These students are now progressing to the BS level.

During the event, Provisional Certificates were distributed to 275 students, who have completed the foundation and two diplomas, and 531 students, who have completed the foundation level and one diploma. The students who completed the foundation and two diplomas are now entering the degree level of the program.

The BS students were from diverse backgrounds in terms of demographics, geography, and careers. One of the students includes an IAS Officer!

Speaking about the importance of the BS Program, Mr. Prateek Bayal, an IAS Officer belonging to the 2019 batch Karnataka Cadre, said, “I am currently working as Deputy Commissioner, Land Acquisition and Development Rights, Bangalore City Corporation. As an administrator, I see BS in Data Science as a great learning opportunity. I am presently doing Foundation level courses and I am already seeing the positive impact of the knowledge I have gained from the courses in my professional career.”

Mr. Prateek Bayal added, “What I liked the most about this BS program is the flexibility it offers to learn and complete courses at their own pace. The quality content, regular assignments, and quizzes make learning more easy and enjoyable. In my view, for a working professional 2-3 courses can be easily managed in term and I generally take out time during weekends and in the evenings for learning. The mantra for completing the course successfully is 'steady' learning.”

In addition, 43 students who were directly admitted to the Diplomas also received their certificates. Out of the 867 students, 164 students, who came from families with annual income less than ₹5 lakhs, were provided financial support from IIT Madras. Amongst these students, 150 students were fully funded through CSR support.

For the first time, IIT Madras has also introduced recognition of the academic achievements of the students in this Program. Students with the highest CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average), students with CGPA greater than 9.5, and students with CGPA between 9 and 9.5 received Certificates of Academic Excellence, Academic Distinction, and Merit, respectively.

A total of 41 students received the certificate for these academic achievements. As a testament to the diversity in this Program, the age of the award winners ranged from 20 to 55.

Addressing the Ceremony, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “The BS Degree has changed the complete landscape of education in our country and we are very proud of it. According to a study, in the next few years, India will need 5,00,000 well-trained data scientists to address some of the country’s most important needs and jobs. For the 20,000+ students who had enrolled into the BS (Data Science) Program, we have given a very interesting opportunity.”

Prof. V. Kamakoti added, “We have reached many students, especially girl students, coming from families with an annual income of less than Rs. 5 lakhs per year. We have more than 500 students from Government Schools who have joined this program. I place my immense thanks to donors who have been supporting the student scholarships.”

Launched in 2020, the BS program has received as many as 90,134 applications as of date, out of which 22,905 have qualified to join the program. The program has a retention rate of 82 percent among those who have started the program. The program provides an opportunity for anyone, irrespective of age or background, to learn Data Science and applications, with Class 12 or equivalent being the only eligibility criteria.

Congratulating the students who received the degrees, Mr. Venkat Viswanathan, CEO, Latentview Analytics, said, “There is some anxiety in terms of all the advances in computing, with a certain type of technologies get talked about a lot more in a short time but a few years down the line, no one talks about them... The overall trend in terms of data being a competitive asset for businesses and businesses have to learn and build the data infrastructure, the organizational strength and capability and build the skills needed to harvest the data and convert them into insights, that is not going to go away. That is an ongoing trend that will always be there.” 

Mr. Venkat Viswanathan, an IIT Madras Alum, added, “From a global perspective, we need about two million people who are well-trained in Data Science. The Good News is from a talent perspective, India is still in a pole position. Each of you (BS Degree Students) is not only well-geared to serve the needs of our economy but will have the opportunity to assist businesses the world over who have the same challenges in terms of adopting data science and being able to address it...” 

This program does not require a JEE score to join. Admission to the program is possible through an in-built qualifier process where the candidates have to successfully complete the qualifier exam based on four weeks of content provided by IIT Madras. All those who obtain the minimum required score in the qualifier exam can continue with the program as there is no limit on the number of seats in the program.

Highlighting the unique aspects of this course, Prof. Andrew Thangaraj, Professor In-Charge, BS in Data Science and Applications, IIT Madras, said, “The program also provides placement assistance to eligible students. The Industry Interaction Cell (IIC) serves as the internship and placement cell for the BS Program where the objective is to prepare students with industry-specific skills and appropriate training, enabling them to leverage the best employment opportunities available in various industries.” 

Further, Prof. Vignesh Muthuvijayan, Professor In-Charge, BS in Data Science and Applications, IIT Madras, added, “This program has ensured equitable access to high-quality education to those who aspire for it by not only opening learning opportunities to all but also by keeping the fee affordable. Scholarships are provided to students belonging to SC/ST/PwD categories and those with family incomes of less than Rs. 5 Lakh per annum, ensuring inclusivity.” 

While the course content is delivered in online mode, quizzes and examinations are in person to ensure the academic rigor and quality of the program. The in-person proctored examinations are conducted in more than 150 cities across the country and abroad as well. Students of the program receive excellent support from IIT Madras during the program.

STUDENTS FEEDBACK

Ayushi Sharad Gang, An IIT Madras BS Degree Student, said, “What I like most about the program is the comprehensive video lectures that are easy to understand and the assignments designed to test your application and knowledge of concepts which help reinforce our understanding of the material. I also appreciate the flexibility in course selection which allows me to choose the courses that are relevant to my interests and career goals. Additionally, the program emphasizes applied learning which means we get to apply the concepts we learn to real-world situations making the learning experience more practical and engaging.”

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