Is it fair for an MBA institute to insist that a student buys a laptop before joining the course? Anupam Pathak thinks not. After securing admission in XISS Ranchi, Anupam learnt that he would have to pay Rs 50,000 extra for a laptop in order to join the course.
According to a TOI report , the Xavier Institute, in its website, has cited rules of the All India Council for Technical Institutions (AICTE) for introducing this clause.
Aggrieved parents of successful students have approached the AICTE seeking relief as they claim the council has not prescribed any such clause.
One of the parents, Pramod Pathak, who happens to be HOD, management studies, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, said the XISS management was forcing students to buy laptops in order to give up its responsibility of providing the necessary infrastructure.
He said his son, Anupam Pathak, was denied admission by the management of XISS as he refused to buy the laptop computer from the institute. "This is sheer high-handedness and in order to teach them a lesson I have lodged a complaint with AICTE." Pathak said.
But XISS is not alone...
At NMIMS, laptops are compulsory. The institute offers 3 options to students who wish to buy through the instiitute.
Christ college of Management in Bangalore clearly states that 'every MBA student has to acquire a laptop computer and other necessary textbooks and study materials'.
In fact way back in 2004 XLRI and S P Jain made it compulsory to buy a laptop.
I'm sure there are many others...
Now I am unclear what is the issue - that students must buy a laptop, or that students must buy a laptop from XISS.
Generally if the college places a bulk order students get a better price. But students should be allowed to get their own, so that no one can crib about being over-charged or not getting a desired config.
Asking for the laptop separately from the fee is a good practice. It is more transparent than quoting X lakhs as fees and advertising 'free laptop'.
The question is this: should mandatory laptops be seen as:
a) A cheap way for institutes to wriggle out of providing a computer lab facility on a 1: 1 ratio basis?
b) Or, should it be seen as a smart way for an institute to deal with a space/ resource crunch?
Secondly, do laptops facilitate learning - or do they hamper it? Some professors at Harvard Law School recently pulled the plug on wifi access and laptops in their classrooms. Same goes with Harvard Business School. Elizabeth Warren, one of the profs who nixes laptops says they interfere with class discussions and student participation.
What do you guys think?
And is Anupam's objection justified? XISS does claim to have a state-of-the-art computer lab... If a particular student does not wish to buy a laptop should he/ she be allowed to exercise a say in the matter?
Since I graduated long before the laptop era (heck, we had green monochrome monitors and Busybee PCs back then!) I would like to know what exactly is a laptop used for during class. My guess would be:
a) To take notes (but for that you could also use paper)
b) To use certain tools etc w.r.t. classwork (a plain calculator might do just as well)
c) To make presentations (you can always bring the file on a CD)
d) To research stuff online (although that could wait until after class I would think!)
e) Just, we're addicted to it. Well find a use for it!
And I'm pretty sure if I were in a boring lecture and had a laptop with wifi access, I'd be busy checking my email... Do you?