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Indian students told to get a life

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A leading Indian technology college is switching off internet access to try and get its students involved in a bit of real-world socialising.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai (Bombay) will turn off hostel students' free internet access from 11pm until 12.30pm. Authorities hope the decision will get students talking to each other again. Mumbai has 13 undergraduate hostels.

Dean of student affairs Prakash Gopalan told Reuters: "The old hostel culture of camaraderie and socialising among students is gone. This is not healthy in our opinion." Gopalan said there had been a decline in academic performance as well as other activities like sport, cultural events, and general socialising.

The dean said students in hostels did not even know the person two doors away from them.

University authorities hope the ban will lead to earlier nights for some students as well as more chit-chat. All night internet access is being blamed for poor attendance at morning lectures as well as creating a generation of friendless students.

There are seven IITs across India and their alumni include many of the country's most famous entrepreneurs and engineers.

Comments on student blogs make the obvious point that there are other reasons for students to stay up late and sleep through lectures than the internet. Others complained that regulation was the wrong way to tackle the problem, and one noted that a similar policy at IIT Madras led to students downloading films and watching them until internet access was restored.

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