IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


4th October, 2023 Polity

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Picture Courtesy: indianexpress.com

Context: The LASE program at IIT Bombay, introduced two years ago, has encountered difficulty in enrolling an adequate number of students, resulting in a delay in its operational commencement. This poses a significant challenge to the program's sustainability and success. 

LASE Program


  • The LASE (Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, and Engineering) program at IIT Bombay is a multidisciplinary undergraduate program launched in 2021. Its main objective was to provide undergraduate students with greater flexibility in customizing their degrees based on their interests, allowing them to move away from their respective engineering departments at the end of their first year.

Program Structure

Students enrolled in the LASE program would graduate with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree at the end of four years. They could choose from four different concentrations: Natural Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Social Sciences, or Art and Design.

The program aimed to provide students with a wide range of course options and allow them to explore various disciplines beyond their primary engineering field.

Program Purpose

The LASE program was created in response to a lack of interest among students in their engineering streams.

It aimed to offer an alternative choice-based education model that aligned with the multidisciplinary approach advocated by the New Education Policy (NEP). The NEP encourages students to choose subjects across various streams, including Science, Arts, and Commerce.

Course Flexibility

Unlike the traditional BTech program at IIT Bombay, where students are limited to courses within their respective engineering streams, LASE students have the freedom to take courses from any department at the institute. This allowed for a more interdisciplinary approach to education.

Admission Process

Students could transfer to the LASE program at the end of their first year, following a selection process. The selection criteria included factors like test scores, Statements of Purpose (SoPs), and interviews (in 2022) or CGPA (in 2023).


The LASE program faced challenges in terms of low student interest and enrollment. In both 2022 and 2023, the program did not meet the minimum required number of students to run courses effectively. This was attributed to factors such as students' preference for traditional BTech degrees, risk aversion to a novel program, and misconceptions about "liberal arts" education.

Future of LASE

The future of the LASE program at IIT Bombay is uncertain, especially with the discontinuation of branch changes in the institute. However, the Deputy Director of the Institute expressed a commitment to continue offering the LASE program as an option to students.


  • The LASE program at IIT Bombay was designed to provide students with a more flexible and interdisciplinary education, but it faced challenges in terms of low student enrollment and a preference for traditional engineering degrees. Its future is still being determined.


Q. What is the primary objective of the LASE program at IIT Bombay?

A) Focusing solely on engineering disciplines

B) Offering fixed degree programs

C) Providing flexibility in customizing degrees

D) Restricting students to their engineering departments

Answer: C

Explanation: The LASE program aims to give undergraduate students greater flexibility in customizing their degrees based on their interests.