IITs, IIMs to Turn Multidisciplinary for World Class Institution Tag

Snigdha updated on : 18 Oct 2016

Government suggests IITs and IIMs to offer courses other than Technology and Management and increase their annual student intake to become World Class institutions.

IITs, IIMs to Turn Multidisciplinary

In a move to set up ‘World Class’ institutes in the country, union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has suggested Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to go beyond their area of specialization in Technology & Management and turn multidisciplinary.

Stated in a draft policy released recently by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, IITs and IIMs should preferably turn multidisciplinary and should focus on both teaching & research of exceptionally high quality. It also states that the two premiere institutes should necessarily satisfy the stated criteria within a fixed period to be declared as ‘World Class’ institutes.

The suggestion came in light of Finance Minister Arun Jaitely’s plan to elevate IITs & IIMs’ status to ‘deemed universities’ in place of the current ‘institute of national importance’. The draft policy is a part of this plan and is currently open for comments. Earlier in September, Javadekar had also invited IITs & IIMs to prepare and bid for the ‘World Class’ Institution’.

Reacting to the criterion, an IIM professor stated it is impossible to label IIMs as ‘multidisciplinary’ and that it will always be called management schools. He also said that the criterion indicates that the government intends to diversify the IIMs bidding which might receive applications from just a few of them. 

Agreeing to IIM professor’s remarks, another professor at IIT added that institutes aspiring for ‘World Class’ tag might have to change. He also stated that IITs had previously held discussions during UPA’s term (2009-2014) about turning multidisciplinary in order to improve the global ranking but it failed to materialize.

The graft policy’s guidelines also mention IITs & IIMs to enrol about 20,000 students in the next 15 years in order to make the cut. This amounts to enrolling 1334 students every year as opposed to the current enrolment in most of the IIMs.

Calling it a tough task, the IIM professor simplified this criterion as transforming ‘class institutions to mass institutions without compromising quality. The guidelines also strives to internationalize the ‘World Class’ institutes, by recruiting one-fourth of the total faculties and enrolling one-third of the total student’s strength from abroad. This is considered as a major step to boost the global ranking of these institutes.

IIT-Delhi that stood second in this year’s global university ranking has only four oversees faculty members among 466 and no foreign student in their undergraduate programmes at all. On the contrary, the top global institute – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – has 30% of its entire student strength from abroad in addition to more than half of the total faculty members from oversees. 

However, some of the IITs like IIT Ropar claim to have offered teaching positions to reputed professors in US and Canada. On the positive side, the government has also asked HRD Ministry to provide complete autonomy to ‘World Class’ institutes. This may includes freedom to select students, run the institute, devise their compensation policy, etc. 

A government official was quoted saying that IITs & IIMs will have to ‘change their character’ to get more academic and administrative freedom as well as to enjoy more funds.

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