Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why are IIM directors soft on Arjun Singh and hard on Murli Manohar Joshi, asks Indian Express Editorial.

Why are IIM directors soft on Arjun Singh and hard on Murli Manohar Joshi, asks Indian Express Editorial.


Why are IIM directors soft on Arjun Singh and hard on Murli Manohar Joshi, asks Indian Express Editorial.

The author is president, Centre for Policy Research

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/29209._.html

Lessons in unreason
Pratap Bhanu Mehta.

The day IIMs caved in to HRD's quota blackmail, higher education lost its last pretence of autonomy

Respected Heads of IIMs: I hope you will pardon my presumptuousness in writing to you like this. But this matter is of some importance. Last week we saw a chilling episode unfold in the history of Indian higher education.

The facts are simple. The Supreme Court has ordered a stay on implementing the OBC quota. In response, IIM Ahmedabad had initially proposed what seemed
like a sensible measure: release the general list of admitted candidates, while withholding the list of candidates admitted under the OBC quota for this year. This list would be released depending upon what transpired in the apex court. This proposal was reasonable. It did not put on hold the academic calendar; nor did it prevent the implementation of OBC
reservations, if the court gave the green signal. But then, the IIMs, following a directive from the HRD ministry, first issued on April 5 and reiterated on April 19, decided to withhold the release of any lists.

Whatever the outcome of the court proceedings, the manner in which the IIMs conducted themselves is outrageous. A terse one-line order issued by a joint
secretary of the Government of India was enough to bring India's mightiest institutions to their knees.

Perhaps it is a sign of just how chilling this episode is that we have even failed to register all that it reveals.

The bane of Indian higher education is that most of it is now governed by political rather than pedagogical considerations. Many excellent universities are now empty shells because they became appendages of the
government: everything, from the academic calendar to appointments, is increasingly determined by ministries and politicians. Even regulatory institutions like the UGC, whose job was to shield universities from egregious government interference, have often become conduits for political design. The lines that separated the professoriate and the civil service are being seriously eroded. Government secretaries now regularly attend meeting of independent regulatory bodies and most states have no compunction putting civil servants in charge of our affairs. But we took solace in the fact that
a few islands of excellence survive, their eminence protecting them from government interference. Alas, this illusion was finally shattered last week.

What was disturbing is that your eminent institutions were becoming a party to the government's attempts to almost blackmail the court. After all, the compromise IIM-A had suggested would have honoured the integrity of all positions; instead you chose to play into government's hands by abetting a scenario of potential chaos that would have ensued if the entire list was
withheld. Of course all institutions, even autonomous ones, have to negotiate with government. But to see the premier institutions put aside all logic, morality and reasonableness to comply with a unnecessary and
illegitimate government order, to see them become party to the government's disrespect for institutional proprieties, was shocking indeed. The public would have sided with you; neither pro- ,nor anti-reservationists would have had reason to disagree with the solution you proposed. Yet you chose to cave in. Is it because you don't trust your own judgment? Is it because you are
no longer capable of providing leadership? Is it because institutional propriety has ceased to matter?

There was also the odour of double standard in what you did. When Murli Manohar Joshi had, in the name of justice, sought to regulate fees, cries of autonomy immediately went up. When Arjun Singh passes an order that is at least as serious, if not more so, there is quiet acceptance. For those of us who have despaired of our successive ministers of education, this double
standard is glaring. Do we now judge institutional proprieties by the yardstick of our ideological allegiances? Whatever may have been your reasons, the effect of your decision will have been to erode the credibility of institutions. The mark of an institution's greatness, after all, is its ability to rise above the taint of partisanship.

I admit readily that running institutions is not easy. The multiple pressures, the diverse demands put on you do not lend themselves to simple solutions. And what can academics do when the political class is hell-bent
on destroying education? What can we do in the face of a seeming political consensus? What can we do when the most academically accomplished prime minister a nation could wish for lets his ministers run riot? But the IIMs
are important just for this reason. India looks to its best institutions not just to build a reputation by selecting a few out of hundreds of thousands of students. It looks to them to provide leadership to society, to extend the boundaries of the possible, and to enlarge our ambitions. But we cannot imagine institutions of higher education being able to do this, if they cannot stand up to governments on behalf of what is right and legal. The IIM
Ahmedabad website proudly makes two claims. First, that the empowerment of faculty has been the propelling force behind the institution. But there is very little evidence of faculty governance in decisions like this. Second, that the institution combines the best of eastern and western values. I wondered what this referred to. After all it was one of the virtues of the Indian tradition that even kshatriyas used to keep their arms outside before entering the gurukula.

Let me be clear. The issue is not reservations. The cause for concern goes even deeper. The IIMs are, in numerical terms, small institutions. But their power to define aspirations is large. In succumbing to the government, in
the manner you did, you disempowered all those who are fighting for values you hold dear: institutional propriety, autonomy, and a proper matching of ends and means. One thing the history of institutions teaches us is that
autonomy has to be earned, it does not inhere in mere statutes. Your faculty, your boards can leverage the power of their eminence to reform higher education, if they so desire. Those of us interested in, and
associated with, India's higher education already feel considerably diminished by the track record of so many institutions. The day IIMs succumbed was truly a sad day, because we felt even smaller.

The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

IIMs likely to lose autonomy

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/IIMs_likely_to_lose_autonomy/articleshow/1946866.cms
 
IIMs likely to lose autonomy
NEW DELHI: Indian Institutes of Management may no longer function as autonomous societies for the government is seriously considering Institutes of Management Bill so that the six premier B-schools are made answerable to Parliament.
Coming within days of IIMs first refusing to toe the government advice of keeping admission list on hold till the OBC reservation issue was settled in the Supreme Court, the move will definitely ruffle IIMs and India Inc. Institutes of Management Bill would be modelled on the lines of the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, under which the IITs function.
A top government source said consultation on the proposed bill was on with the law ministry. He also sought to allay the apprehension that the proposed law could result in the erosion of the autonomy of IIMs.
‘‘IITs have made a mark for themselves without undermining their autonomy. Government feels functioning of IIMs and IITs need to be brought on par,’’ the source said. HRD ministry officials, however, refused to comment on the development.
If the proposed bill is modelled on the Institutes of Technology Act, there would be definite changes in the administrative and financial powers of IIMs. The B-schools would have a board of governors and a senate as administrative units.
But it is the financial autonomy of IIMs, which gives it the current teeth, which would undergo major change. IIMs, especially Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kolkata, are not dependent on government funds but once they are brought under an act of Parliament, every IIM would have to maintain a fund in which money provided by the Central government, all fees and other charges received by the institute, money received by way of grants, gifts, donations, benefactions, bequests or transfers and money received by the institute in any other manner or from any other source would be kept.
Even investments would have to be made with the approval of the Central government. Accounts of IIMs would be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
 

IIM alumni body cites Nehru, files PIL in SC

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/IIM_alumni_body_cites_Nehru_files_PIL_in_SC/articleshow/1947065.cms
 
IIM alumni body cites Nehru, files PIL in SC
NEW DELHI: An alumni association of IIM graduates has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the 56-year-old caste-based reservation policy saying its continuance has put paid to Jawaharlal Nehru's dream of a "young and vibrant nation free from the vices of caste and communal divide".
The PIL by 'Pan-IIM Alumni Association' quoted a letter written by the country's first PM to the chief ministers, which said: "I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in services. I react strongly against anything, which leads to inefficiency and second rate standards. I want my country to be a first class country in everything. The moment we encourage the second rate, we are lost."
The right to primary education remains unenforced even after 60 years of independence, but the ruling class has not blinked in sacrificing the high ideals of Nehru at the altar of vote-bank politics, the PIL said and sought an honest evaluation of the benefits of caste-based reservations.
Clarifying that the association is not against affirmative action of the state, the petitioner said imposition of mandatory reservation in higher education smacked of arbitrariness being without basis.
 

Opening New IITs

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opening_New_IITs/articleshow/1939900.cms


LEADER ARTICLE: Opening New IITs
Pankaj Jalote and B N Jain
[23 Apr, 2007 l 0040 hrs IST]

The government recently said that it would open more Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). While any move in this direction is welcome, the existing model of wholly state-funded IITs is not amenable to increasing the numbers and enhancing quality.

After the first five IITs which came up three to four decades back, the government has set up only one, in Guwahati. But since the 60s, India's population has doubled and numbers of the educated seeking admission have probably gone up tenfold. Unable to cope, the government started renaming existing institutions as IITs. The key difficulty today in starting an IIT is attracting and retaining good faculty.

To attract quality faculty, we need good students, a vibrant research environment and attractive compensation. Good students are available in plenty in India, at least at the undergraduate level. The challenges lie in the other two areas, and they cannot be met by promoting new IITs exclusively in the government sector due to resource and management constraints in the present model.

In an era of public-private partnerships (PPP), it is worth extending the PPP approach to starting new IITs. Private sector dynamism and long-term social commitment of the government can come together to create quality institutes. A modified BOT (build-operate-transfer) model can be applied here.

The government can specify norms for an IIT and its support for the project. These norms can include autonomy, selection process for students and faculty, reservations, governance structures, and conditions for financial support, such as what it will provide per student and per faculty. It can also specify norms for giving the landand its share of the initial capital for a new IIT.

With these guidelines in place, the government can invite respected individuals and business houses for a partnership to start a new IIT. The project can be executed by the partner, who, apart from bringing his share of the initial capital, can go on to provide ongoing support to the new IIT. This would be in addition to the government lending support as per its norms.

The official salary scale of the IIT faculty can remain the government-approved scale, this coming from government grant. However, the private partner can provide additional compensation to the faculty, pegging this to market levels.



The private player can also provide funds to invite faculty from abroad, something that is difficult to do from government funds. In general, funds provided by the private partner can be used for activities that cannot be undertaken with government money.

In this modified BOT model, the private partner is actually paying money, and not making any, in the B and O phases. Why would a private player participate? Many rich individuals and organisations in India would like to direct their wealth to societal uses, such as academic institutions. Given the IIT brand, it will be easier to get them to start a new IIT than, say, a new college or university.

Since the new institution is an IIT, it would be eligible for research grants and partnership programmes. A fully private university in India will find it almost impossible to support research, as can be seen in most existing private institutes, including well-funded ones. With research funding available from regular funding sources as well as multilateral agencies, an exciting environment can be created, particularly with leadership support from the private sector.

The board of governors can remain the top body of an IIT built through PPP. The government can stipulate that the board will consist of eminent people, specify that a few seats will be nominees of the government, and lay down that the director will be selected by a professional search committee appointed by the board. The initial agreement can last for 20-30 years, after which the IIT may revert to the government, or the arrangement may be extended.

A likely area of contention is the fee structure. Although it can be stated that the IIT can make no profit and extra revenues generated will go towards expanding the institute, there is likely to be a difference in opinion on the level of fees and how it should be determined. One possibility is to have norms where per student support is a function of fees as the fee increases government support decreases.

As part of the agreement, the govern-ment can also state that the new IIT should build mechanisms to create new faculty for itself as well as for other institutions. This is not as hard as it may sound. With incentives, it is possible to attract young graduates to join the PhD programme where they may do a joint PhD with some world-class university (with which this new IIT can get into an MoU, and for which funds will be provided by the private partner) and also do part-time teaching in this new IIT.

The PPP approach, unlike the government one, has reasonable scalability. There is no reason why with different partners, a new IIT cannot be created every couple of years at least for the next decade or so. The new models that are likely to come up in new IITs will also help existing IITs to change and upgrade their management and compensation approaches. With D Sanghi, S Biswas, K Ramamritham and D B Phatak. The writers are IIT professors.

Nanotechnology pesticide filter debuts in India

http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=1806.php
or
Nanotechnology friendly E-mail this article

Posted: April 20, 2007
Nanotechnology pesticide filter debuts in India
(Nanowerk News) A domestic water filter that uses metal nanoparticles to
remove dissolved pesticide residues is about to enter the Indian market. Its
developers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai (formerly
Madras) believe it is the first product of its kind in the world to be
commercialised.
Mumbai-based Eureka Forbes Limited, a company that sells water purification
systems, is collaborating with IIT and has tested the device in the field
for over six months. Jayachandra Reddy, a technical consultant to the
company, expects the first 1000 units to be sold door-to-door from late May.

The pesticide-zapping filter (Image: Thalappil Pradeep)
'Our pesticide filter is an offshoot of basic research on the chemistry of
nanoparticles,' Thalappil Pradeep who led the team at IIT Chennai told
Chemistry World. He and his student Sreekumaran Nair discovered in 2003 that
halocarbons such as carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) completely break down into
metal halides and amorphous carbon upon reaction with gold and silver
nanoparticles ("Halocarbon mineralization and catalytic destruction by metal
nanoparticles"; pdf download 136 KB).
Pradeep said this prompted them to extend their study to include
organochlorine and organophosphorous pesticides, whose presence in water is
posing a health risk in rural India. In research funded by the Department of
Science and Technology in New Delhi, his team found ("Detection and
extraction of endosulfan by metal nanoparticles" and "Extraction of
Chlorpyrifos and Malathion from Water by Metal Nanoparticles" (in: J.
Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 7, 1871–1877 (2007) – not yet published)) that gold
and silver nanoparticles loaded on alumina were indeed able to completely
remove endosulfan, malathion and chlorpyrifos - three pesticides often found
at elevated levels in Indian water supplies.
Use and recycle
The mechanism of removal is 'adsorption followed by catalytic destruction',
Pradeep explained. 'The chemistry occurs in a wide concentration range of
environmental significance.' He added that tests proved silver particles
from the filter are not released into the water. The IIT study found that
gold particles perform better in the case of endosulfan. However, for cost
reasons, the commercialised filters use only silver particles, which range
in size from 60 to 80 nanometres at a concentration (on their alumina
support) of 33 parts per million.
'Based on consumption patterns of a typical Indian household, the filter is
designed to have enough nanomaterials to provide 6000 litres of
pesticide-free water for one year,' Pradeep said. 'After that, the company
will recycle the filters to recover the silver.'
Use of nanoparticles for environmental remediation is an emerging area of
research worldwide. Nanoscale iron powders had been shown to degrade other
pesticides, including DDT and lindane ("Nanoporous zero-valent iron"), 'and
there are reports about the use of nanomaterials for removing arsenic, heavy
metals and fluorides,' said Pradeep. 'But ours is the first product to hit
the market,' he said.
World first
Murali Sastry, chief scientist of TATA Chemicals Innovation Centre in Pune -
India's first nanotechnology research centre in the private sector - agrees.
'What Pradeep has done is definitely novel,' Sastry told Chemistry World. 'I
am not aware of any similar product in the market.'
Eureka already markets a water purifier that combines a sedimentation
chamber with activated carbon filters and UV irradiation, and costs around
Rs8500 (approx. $200). Reddy estimated that adding the x-centimetre-long
nanosilver cartridge (see image) to remove pesticides will increase the
price by 15 per cent, but silver recycling (in an environmentally-friendly
manner, stressed Pradeep) should help to reduce that cost.
Vijayamohanan Pillai, a nanomaterials expert at the National Chemical
Laboratory in Pune, pointed out that it is very rare for an Indian company
to exploit a home-grown nanotechnology. 'Most big companies in India look
abroad for collaboration,' he said. One problem is that scaling up
nanoparticle production is difficult. But Pradeep said his team had taken
three years to attack this problem, and 'Eureka Forbes can now make four
tonnes of silver nanoparticles a month.'
Source: Chemistry World (Killugudi Jayaraman)
nanoNEWS

How Skype has captured India

On 20/4/07 8:29 PM, "Kumar" wrote:

The other day, I was in an electrical shop, looking for an electrical wall fitting, when a well-dressed lady, in her late 40s or early 50s, walked in. She asked for something, and just then her mobile phone rang. It's not often that you see someone - anyone - so well dressed
in an electrical shop such as the one I was shopping in; this place is usually frequented by the small-time contractor types, and their workers. So, as she answered the phone, I, I'm sorry to say, positioned myself to eavesdrop better. And this is what I heard:

"Oh yes, the computer is on. No, beta, I'm not at home right now. OK, I'm coming home now, and I'll call you on Skype as soon as I get home."

In 15 seconds, she paid for what she had bought, hailed an autorickshaw, and vanished from sight.

That is when it hit me: how Skype has entered the life of so many Indians.

So here we are again, using a product because it's free, useful (actually, vital, to some), and untouched by politicians. But not really sure of who the providers are, and privacy issues. So I did some research on these issues.

First, the who. Skype may have started as, but is no longer, a fly-by-night operation. The Skype Group was acquired by eBay in October 2005, and is headquartered in Luxembourg, with offices in London, Tallinn and Prague. So we have a big name behind it now.

Next, the privacy concern. This is hard to address. Being a closed, proprietary peer-to-peer protocol, we really cannot be sure that it's not been hacked into. It's free, so any attackers aren't doing it for publicity. That makes it all the more scary, because that leaves only two candidates in the field: criminals and governments (come to think of it, the two have a lot in common). Reportedly, Skype uses openly available, strong encryption algorithms. But you have to take their word for it. Just don't even think of terms like "backdoor".

What about worms? Viruses? Trojans? Malware? Nothing ever attacked the good old telephone system except rats, nature, and corrupt PSU employees. But Skype, like all VOIP systems, is primarily software, and primarily residing on a PC, so it is just as vulnerable as any
software on the PC, or the PC itself. And now, specific attacks are being directed on Skype software.

In March 2007, F-Secure detected a new Skype Worm as IM-Worm: W32/Pykse.A. The security company said that the Pykse. A worm spreads via Skype instant messages, posing as a link to a photograph of a scantily clad young model called Sandra. Once a user clicks on the link, and views the image, the user's PC is infected with a downloader Trojan which then installs the worm. Once the Pykse.A worm is up and running, it then attemps to connect to a number of remote Web sites.

The fix: Nothing new. Protect your PC, and Skype will be safe. Just keep your antivirus updated, and be careful of which sites you visit.

m I on the right side of the law? In India, it is legal to use VoIP, but it is illegal to have VoIP gateways inside India. This effectively means that people who have PCs can use them to make a VoIP call to any number anywhere in the world, but if the remote side is a normal phone, the gateway that converts the VoIP call to a POTS call should
not be inside India. So, you're OK making free Skype calls, or even making the paid Skypeout calls (you use your PC to make a call to a normal telephone at the other end). Even if the service provider wrongly locates his gateway inside India, it's not your fault.

Oh, we all know it's free, but what about Quality of Service? It's wrong to look a gift horse in the mouth, but drop-outs and latencies will take the joy away from any call you'll make. To some extent, these weaknesses are shared by all VOIP systems, and are not specific to Skype. So, depending on the state of network congestion, your
mileage may vary. The good news is, more dark fibre is getting lit up every day, so the network is, as they say, "getting better and better".

As with all good happenings in India, when success ensues, can the biggest spoilsport of all - the government - be far behind? Oh, yes, the GOI is very much getting into the act, but fortunately for that
good lady in the shop and millions of others like her, the crackdown on internet telephony services will affect only the outsourcers and other IT businesses. Homes are, so far, exempt.

Net2Phone was an early VoIP company. But somehow Skype has turned out to be the dominant force in VoIP. Skype came later, when broadband had permeated the globe better and the public had become used to the
concept. Globalization also meant a lot more people had to make overseas calls.

Skype had better timing. And marketing. And has captured India.

kumar

Dr. Jamshed Irani of Tata Steel is new IIML Chairman.

Dr. Jamshed Irani of Tata Steel is new IIML Chairman.

http://www.coolavenues.com/bschools/070402/iiml-chairman-1.php


Dr. Jamshed J. Irani Appointed Chairman, BoG, IIM Lucknow

Ministry of HRD, Government of India, appointed Dr. Jamshed J. Irani Director, TATA Sons Limited, as Chairman, IIM Society and Board of Governors of IIM, Lucknow for a period of 5 years.

With a doctorate in metallurgy from the University of Sheffield, England, Dr. Irani began his career in 1963 as Senior Scientific Officer at the BISRA, Sheffield. In 1968, he joined The Tata Iron & Steel Company Ltd. (TISCO).
He was appointed General Superintendent in 1978, General Manager in 1979 and Managing Director in 1992. After holding the CEO's office for almost a
decade, he retired as the Managing Director of Tata Steel in July 2001. He continues as a Director on the Board of Tata Steel.

The whole IIM Lucknow community is looking forward to learning from the able and visionary leadership of Dr. Jamshed J. Irani," says *Dr. Devi Singh, Director IIM Lucknow.

In Tata Steel, Dr. Irani transformed the company into the sophisticated steel company it is today, both in physical form and attitude. He is looked upon as the 'change agent', which has made the steel behemoth a force to be
reckoned with in the steel manufacturing world. Dr. Irani's personal commitment to quality served as a model for the workforce of Tata Steel to follow, bringing about continuous improvement in all aspects of their work.
Tata Steel is now recognized as one of the lowest cost producers of steel in the world.

He has received a number of awards recognizing his contributions to the company and industry. Prominent among them are the Ernst & Young's *'Lifetime
Achievement Award, 2001'* for entrepreneurial success and the *'Twelfth Willy Korf Steel Vision Award'* from World Steel Dynamics and American Metal Market. Dr. Irani has also been awarded the *Qimpro Platinum Standard* in November 2000, and has received the *Indian Merchants' Chamber's Juran Quality Medal* for the year 2001, for his role as a statesman for quality.

At its Annual General Body Meeting held on 10th July 1996, the *Royal Academy of Engineering, London* elected Dr. Irani as a Foreign Member and he is amongst the five Indians who have been bestowed with this honour. On 14th October 1997 in Delhi, *Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II* conferred on Dr.Irani an *Honorary Knighthood (KBE)*, for his contributions to Indo-British
Trade and Co-operation.

IIT's could do better with the Cream of the Nation

GG,
You have touched on a very sore point. Your JEE rank determines your branch of engineering even before you find out what engineering is all about. There were chaps who could never do isometrics or visualise 3'd images.

The electronics class was virtually reserved for the top rankers who all chose the branch as it had good job prospects then. Out of a class of about 40 not even ten stuck to electronics. Most went to management and other fields. This to me is a correctable situation.

In Australia admission is based on the University admission Index and students choose what they want to study in any of the state universities

Some one like me dreamed of becoming an electronics engineer and JEE rank denied me the opportunity and forced civil engg down my throat. I had no choice as my dad insisted I had to do Civil too. I believe I wasted so many years at IIT and had to do a masters in Sydney to switch to a field of my choice - Noise control Engineering.

I strongly believe that the branch should be allottted after students complete the second year and after an aptitude test and interview by faculty professors. If faculty can choose their students I am sure IITs will have
much better engineers tha they have been producing in the last 15 years.

It is also sad to see so many IITians joining the recruitment game that needs no B Tech Degree.

All the students who want to do MBA might as well be allowed to study business at IITs as opposed to doing Civil or metallurgy and then switching to finance.

My discussions with recent graduates from IITs suggests the current crop work pretty hard in the first two years and score enough marks ( in the 90's) and then take it easy in third and fourth years where real engineering
is taught and even if they average 70% they are quite happy with the overall aggregate. Now when I say Take it easy it means their focus is in teaching themselves computer languages and programming I am told.

In one way it is a total waste of time for faculty members in Aero, Civil. Metallurgy Chemical etc knowing pretty well that majority of their b tech students will be heading for the IT industry or Finance. And we wonder why
there are no B tech students doing research at IITs

Yes IITs were structured to meet the demands of the sixties and seventies and in the year 2007 there is an urgent need to overhaul the system and produce graduates to meet market demand. What is wrong in limiting Civil, metallurgy, chem, aero etc to just twenty seats and allow 300 students to do computer sciene or computer engg etc ? Every one will be better off in the
end


On 22/4/07 12:37 PM, "gopala GG ganesh" wrote:

> Rambo:
>
> I believe the JEE as currently set up is unfair to poor students, rural
> students and those who are non-English medium. Thanks to technology, this can
> be solved quite effectively and easily. The IITs should jointly set up an
> online coaching scheme which is widely accessible. Students of means will
> access from home, while the others would go to dedicated, subsidized nternet
> cafes franchised to retired teachers that limit access only to coaching
> activities. Among other things, the coaching would incorporate point and click
> explanations of topics, problems ertc, bulletin boards to facilitate student
> to student communications, in all Indian languages In addition, the site
> would provide any number of practice tests etc. Let those students who are
> dedicated enough to make use of the widely available resource do well in the
> JEE. Also, I am not convinced that MPC proficiency equals Engg aptitude. If
> you ask me, the key skill of an engineer is the ability to design things. Is
> this
> tested in the JEE? Had I been asked many moons ago to figure out objects from
> their plan and elevation views, I would have mercifully flunked out of JEE and
> IIT. My good number skills do not make me a good engineer, in spite of doing
> quite well in my rather large Mech Engg branch. After IIT, I could not wait to
> get the hell out of engineering. I probably would have made a good CPA and/or
> income tax lawyer. Helping hide black money legally and playing stricly by all
> existing rules would have been quite lucrative, given the ocean that
> unaccounted money is in India. Too late!
>
> - gg
>

JEE Coaching Schools - Outside the Box Thinking

JEE Coaching Schools - Outside the Box Thinking


Over the last few years, the IIT JEE Coaching schools especially the ones in Kota and Hyderabad have been blamed again and again for the quality of students who succeed in passing the JEE exams with flying colours. They seem to cop the blame for poorer students who cannot afford these coaching schools as being disadvantaged as a result. These coaching schools are portrayed as greedy opportunists. Yet no one blames the Private schools in India that charge an arm and a leg right from Kindy for not delivering quality education  that is good enough to get into IITs

It is also common knowledge that students start preparations for JEE sometimes as early as eighth standard. Imagine these poor children who have to endure this torture for as long as five years  of regular schooling as well as JEE Coaching schools. No wonder these kids are burnt out even before they step into IITs and get blamed for not being creative etc etc.

Does it not make sense to give some of these successful JEE Coaching schools due recognition as Special schools that can award the Plus two school certificate ?.
By doing this we can spare the children the torture of physically attending a regular school as a formality only to get attendance to sit for the public exams ?
I am sure most will agree that each and every student studying at JEE Coaching schools will pass the school exams with flying colours.  If they are trained to successfully compete in the entrance exams it goes without saying that they are too good for the Board  exams. Please do not argue that these schoools do not teach all the subjects. Given the opportunity I am sure they will teach the languages and other humanities subjects as found necessary.

I believe it is time to stop knocking JEE Coaching schools and recognise their valuable contribution to the Indian society at large. From wat I have read and understood JEE Coaching schools are way ahead of all private and public schools. Tell me I am wrong

Assuming HRD Ministry will never accept anything like this that makes sense, we have to take the opposite view and ensure JEE is fair to all students who study the school syllabus by rehashing the JEE altogether wiping out all Coaching schools. Now this will test the creative capabilities of  Faculty at IITs who set the JEE question papers for sure.

Something has to change and if we cannot beat them Coaching schools we might as well join them and serve the communities better.

Rambo

Saturday, April 21, 2007

JEE Coaching Schools - Outside the Box Thinking

JEE Coaching Schools - Outside the Box Thinking


Over the last few years, the IIT JEE Coaching schools especially the ones in Kota and Hyderabad have been blamed again and again for the quality of students who succeed in passing the JEE exams with flying colours. They seem to cop the blame for poorer students who cannot afford these coaching schools as being disadvantaged as a result. These coaching schools are portrayed as greedy opportunists. Yet no one blames the Private schools in India that charge an arm and a leg right from Kindy for not delivering quality education that is good enough to get into IITs

It is also common knowledge that students start preparations for JEE sometimes as early as eighth standard. Imagine these poor children who have to endure this torture for as long as five years of regular schooling as well as JEE Coaching schools. No wonder these kids are burnt out even before they step into IITs and get blamed for not being creative etc etc.

Does it not make sense to give some of these successful JEE Coaching schools due recognition as Special schools that can award the Plus two school certificate ?.
By doing this we can spare the children the torture of physically attending a regular school as a formality only to get attendance to sit for the public exams ?
I am sure most will agree that each and every student studying at JEE Coaching schools will pass the school exams with flying colours. If they are trained to successfully compete in the entrance exams it goes without saying that they are too good for the Board exams. Please do not argue that these schoools do not teach all the subjects. Given the opportunity I am sure they will teach the languages and other humanities subjects as found necessary.

I believe it is time to stop knocking JEE Coaching schools and recognise their valuable contribution to the Indian society at large. From wat I have read and understood JEE Coaching schools are way ahead of all private and public schools. Tell me I am wrong

Assuming HRD Ministry will never accept anything like this that makes sense, we have to take the opposite view and ensure JEE is fair to all students who study the school syllabus by rehashing the JEE altogether wiping out all Coaching schools. Now this will test the creative capabilities of Faculty at IITs who set the JEE question papers for sure.

Something has to change and if we cannot beat them Coaching schools we might as well join them and serve the communities better.

Rambo

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rahul says he is ready to talk to anyone on quota issue

Rahul says he is ready to talk to anyone on quota issue
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 15:04 IST

KANPUR: In the wake of IIT students planning to hold protests on the OBC quota issue during his Uttar Pradesh roadshow, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he was ready to talk to anyone, especially the youth on the matter.

"I am ready to talk to anyone, especially the youth. And I would like them to come forward and air their views," Gandhi told reporters here when asked about the protests planned by IIT students.

"My doors are always open for the IIT students and they could come at any time to discuss their problem and some solution would be brought out for their problem," the Amethi MP said.

The Congress leader had said in April last year, when the anti-quota protests were raging across the country, "It is a very complex issue. Both sides have valid points."

Gandhi has been especially targeting the youth during his roadshow in UP in the run-up to the Assembly elections, asking them to come forth with new ideas for development of the state.

He said the main agenda of Congress party was to attract the youth and the chief task of his road show was to create enthusiasm among them for a change of government. "We are getting success in our aim because the youth have easy access
to me," he said.

Earlier, a spokesman of Youth for Equality, which is spearheading the anti-reservation protests, had said IIT students would oppose Rahul Gandhi when his helicopter would land at IIT helipad as the Congress favoured reservation but their plan could not materialise due to strict security.

Brand Equiity: IIT’s branding campaign

Just when IITians from India thought they were the only ones creating a Brand equity.
Here is news from the other IIT in USA.
Rambo
.....................................

http://technews.iit.edu/index.php?id=222
Brand Equiity: IIT’s branding campaign
by Abhishek Gundugurti

Yes, there have been a ton of T-shirts given out for free. Yes, banners on State Street along the MTCC have words misspelled with ‘iit’ in the middle of them. And while you may think you know what‘s going on, chances are that you don’t. Don’t worry, all of your questions will now be answered.

TechNews will give you the ‘official’ details of IIT’s latest marketing and branding campaign. These are just some of the details you will find in the brochure called ‘Brand Equiity – Building a valued relationship that lasts’. This brochure and IIT’s branding campaign is the brainchild of the Communication and Marketing (C&M) department.

Scott Dunnell (Director of Marketing), Kristine Pasto (Associate Director of Marketing) , Nancy Schoon (Art Director in charge of the visual aspects of the campaign) and Hyme Jamie BanuelosDeLaMore (a student intern who helped gather student input and feedback during the campaign’s research phase) served as team leaders/members. Rose Milkowski, IIT’s Chief Communications Officer, was kind enough to offer TechNews an interview in regards to the idea behind the campaign and the planning that went into it.

The process began a little before October 2006, and first two months included focus groups and in-depth interviews involving over 200 alumni, current students, faculty, parents, prospective students, staff and trustees. In December 2006, there was strategic planning involving the entire IIT community. In the first two months of this year, test marketing of the new branding campaign was conducted during the graduate open house sessions. In February, the C&M department worked on completing the material that would be used for both internal and external campaign branding. The official kickoff date was on March 29 and on April 2, it was launched in Chicago and revealed to the entire IIT student body through a wide range of giveaways and freebees.

The branding campaign is intended to reflect the university’s four foundation messages: An Academic experience grounded in engineering, science and technology (Curiosiity), Exceptional students with an intense work ethic (Tenaciity), Innovation and entrepreneurialism (Ingenuiity) and Chicago – a total urban experience (Ciity Life). IIT President Lewis Collens issued the charge to develop a full-fledged branding campaign for IIT based on these principles and the C&M department, which engaged more than 250 members of the university community, developed the program in eight months. Programs of this kind normally take 15 months to develop and implement.

In the official letter, which is given along with the branding campaign, Milkowski states that “This is a strong step towards enhancing the visibility of our university and building a more solid understanding of the great attributes of Illinois Institute of Technology”. It remains to been seen how well the IIT community and others from across the city (and eventually, the country) accepts this new branding campaign.

Sources: Some details mentioned in this article are from the brochure of the marketing campaign.

Reservation row: IIT, IIM admissions put on hold

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070008157

Reservation row: IIT, IIM admissions put on hold
IIM aspirants who were to find out on Thursday whether they made it to the premier business school or not will now have to wait.

The Union HRD Ministry sent out a letter to all centrally-aided institutes, including the IIMs and IITs, asking them to withhold declaration of entrance examination results till the Supreme Court decided whether or not to lift the stay on implementation of OBC quotas in this academic session.

The letter from the HRD Ministry states:

"You are advised not to issue any offers of admissions in institutes under your control for the ensuing academic session until you receive further communication in this regard from the central government."

Students affected

The students affected most are the IIM aspirants, as the results of entrance exams for most centrally-aided institutes, including IIT-JEE, will now be out much later.

Still, students expressed surprise at this sudden turn of events.

The decision to implement quotas in a staggered manner over three years was taken at the UPA-Left Coordination Committee meeting on Friday despite the Supreme Court stay.

Institutes like the IIT are hopeful that this quota mess will sort itself out before the new academic session begins.

Reactions to HRD order

"We anyway don't declare results till May 30. The question of holding results does not apply. The process of checking papers will carry on as usual.

"If the Supreme Court decision does not come by May 30, then we will consider holding back the results," said Prof H S Pandalia, Chairman Joint Entrance Exam, IIT.

The government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court seeking an early hearing of its plea to vacate the stay ordered on the OBC quotas.

It is hoping that it will be able to carry out admissions for general and OBC categories simultaneously.



http://www.hindu.com/2007/04/09/stories/2007040915600400.htm

Less taxing IIT-JEE pattern

Meera Srinivasan

Drop in number of students appearing for the examination



WHAT'S YOUR ANSWER? Students discuss the paper after their afternoon session of the JEE at MGR Janaki Arts and Science College in Chennai on Sunday. — PHOTO: K.V.SRINIVASAN

CHENNAI: About 6,000 students took the Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE) in 12 centres across the city on Sunday. A total of 2.5 lakh students appeared for the examination all over the country.

This year's examination pattern was different from last year's, which had papers in mathematics, physics and chemistry for two hours each. Sunday's examination was conducted over two sessions of three hours each, with a two-hour break in between.

Students attempted two objective-type question papers, both with sections in mathematics, physics and chemistry. The three subjects were allotted 81 marks each.

Students were tested through four types of questions — multiple choice, assertion and reasoning, reading comprehension and match the following.

IIT-JEE (south zone) chairman Shreepad Karmalkar said the testing pattern was changed as they found last year's pattern very taxing.

This year, nearly 9,500 students from Tamil Nadu appeared for the examination in 23 centres.

A total of 40,000 students wrote the examination in 97 centres in the south zone that covers Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh.

Mr.Karmalkar pointed to a six per cent drop in the number of students taking the examination in the south zone.

This year's examination was largely perceived as reasonably easy.

S. Balasubramanian, director, T.I.M.E., an institute that trains students for various competitive examinations, said the examination was easier compared to last year's. An IIT-Madras alumnus himself, Mr. Balasubramanian said both papers (morning and afternoon) were similar in structure and difficulty level.

Students, too, seem to have found the paper easy.

"It was easier than expected. I have been studying hard for the JEE ... my dream is to make it to an IIT," said K. J. Arun, a student of MCC Higher Secondary School.

S. Aravind of P.S. Senior Secondary School said, "Some of the questions seemed challenging, as the pattern was new. However, I am quite satisfied with my performance."

This year's JEE also assumes significance in the context of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development directing the Indian Institutes of Management, (IIMs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and other centrally-funded institutions of higher learning to put admissions on hold.

The instruction followed the Supreme Court's stay on 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Last year, about three lakh students in the country competed for the 5,500 seats offered across seven IITs.

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Lakhs appear in IIT exam, hail new format

http://www.zeenews.com/articles.asp?aid=364693&sid=NAT&ssid=

Lakhs appear in IIT exam, hail new format

New Delhi, April 8: Over 2.5 lakh students across the country on Sunday appeared in the joint entrance examination (JEE) for admission to the prestigious IITs with the tests passing off smoothly.

Adequate arrangements were made in the Delhi zone, which consists of the national capital region, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, for conducting the test, IIT-Delhi Director Surendra Prasad told.

"There are 48,000 candidates in the Delhi zone, including 33,000 in the NCR. In this zone, we set up 104 centres, including 74 in the capital," he said.

Many students said they were satisfied with their performance.

"The questions were slightly easy. The students were very happy over their performance," said Sharad Awasti of career launcher, an institute that coaches students for the test.

Awasti said most students could answer the test in time.

The test comprised two papers of 200 marks each. To ease the exam blues for students, the pattern of the IIT-JEE was changed this year with only two papers in place of three. Each paper consisted of questions in physics, chemistry and mathematics.

Earlier, students appeared for three papers, one each dealing with physics, chemistry and mathematics. The papers earlier were of two hour`s duration.

The questions are of objective type and there is negative marking for incorrect answers, Prasad said.

There are over 4,000 seats in the IITs, which were supposed to increase seats to implement a 27 per cent quota for OBCs, which has been put on hold by the Supreme Court`s stay.

New format hailed

A new but easy format and more time gave the 250,000 students sitting for the IIT entrance exam on Sunday a pleasant surprise.

"The paper was fun," remarked Bhargavi, a student who appeared at Chennai for the Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE).

"The best and most welcome change in the exam was that it`s a more objective than subjective paper and there is no negative marking for the long answers," she said.

Unlike last year, when students had to tackle three papers Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, of two hours duration each, this year they had to answer two papers of three-hour duration each.

The IIT-JEE exam has been undergoing changes for sometime now. Until 2005 the examination had two stages. Those qualifying a screening test sat for the main exam. But since last year, a one-stage examination has been introduced.

Nearly 250,000 students took the exam on Sunday, competing for the 4,000 seats in the seven IITs, as compared to 300,000 students who took the paper last year.

Since there has been no concrete decision yet on the 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC), there has been no change in the number of seats as well. But some students do admit that the quota game was playing at the back of their minds.

"I don`t have any kind of quota so I admit that I was a little worried about the entire quota scene which was on the boil again. But now that the court order has been stayed and the paper was relatively easy, I am relieved!" said Namrata Sharma, an IIT aspirant from Guwahati.

Some students from Bangalore were, however, disappointed because the paper was right in the middle of their class 12 exams.

"I would probably have been more satisfied with my performance if I didn`t have to divide my study time between my board exams and the IIT JEE. But my priority remains IIT so I tried concentrating on it more," said Udayan Joshi of Bangalore.

Barring a few, students were overall quite satisfied with their performance.

New-format IIT-JEE today, 2.5 lakh to appear

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=b41b4030-fd41-4711-8d74-ccfbc3586daa&

New-format IIT-JEE today, 2.5 lakh to appear

Over 2.5 lakh students will appear for Indian Institute of Technology — Joint Entrance Examination on Sunday. These candidates will be contesting for 4,000-odd seats spread over seven institutes in India. With no decision taken on the OBC quota so far, there has been no increase in seats in the IITs.

Till last year, students had to appear for three papers — physics, chemistry and mathematics — of two hours' duration each. This year, candidates will answer two papers. Negative marking for incorrect responses will continue, however.
The management said that the change in the structure was based on logistics.

“Parents and students coming to big cities were facing difficulty with the long and odd hours of the exam. So in order to relieve them of added stress, the change was devised,” said Surendra Prasad, IIT Director.

With a new testing format, the challenges are many for those contesting the limited number of seats. “The last time also they had altered the pattern due to which there was some amount of nervousness, I wouldn’t say there are no jitters this time, but I am fairly confident,” said Ankur Mehta from Faridabad.

The entrance exam pattern has been undergoing changes since last year. Until 2005, there were two stages of tests in the IIT-JEE. The students were required to appear for a screening test and those qualifying the test were allowed to sit for the main exam. However, a one-stage examination was introduced last year.

“I have been preparing myself according to the changes in the structure so that is not so much of a worry. Since this is my last and final attempt, I am very anxious,” said Vaibhav Maheshwari from Mathura.

For first-time aspirant Shweta Pandey, the changed pattern is a boon. “I hate writing long and subjective answers and change to objective questions is a welcome option,” she said. ‘I think this is slightly less taxing though the amount of energy we put in is exactly the same.”

Pandey has been preparing for the exam since the last two years. “Objective answering will help in fetching higher scores,” said Siddharth Goyal from Vasant Vihar, who sounded a little worried about negative marking.

OBC quota: SC order impacts IIT aspirants

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070007917

OBC quota: SC order impacts IIT aspirants
The IIT entrance exam may be just a few days away but with the Supreme Court staying the OBC quota implementation this year, hundreds of students banking on these seats are suddenly caught off guard.

Rahul Kumar was banking on the reservation for OBC students for an IIT seat. Rahul moved from Darbhanga to Delhi where he could get better coaching.

But after the Supreme Court's decision, he can no longer take a chance at writing the exam as he has already used one of the two shots given to a candidate.

Rahul's dream is to work in the UK as a computer engineer but he has little option but to wait for next year and hope that there will be reservations.

"I am just very frustrated. I don't know what to do now. It's unbelievable that the court would not allow this to happen. Thousands of students like me are left wondering what our next step should be now," he said.

Economic basis

In another part of the Capital, Uttkarsh Kumar wasn't planning to use his OBC certificate to get into IIT. He was instead banking on merit.

In fact he can't understand why people from his community need reservation.

"Reservations will only keep reminding us of the gap between the general category and the OBCs. If you need reservations, it has to be on economic basis. Dhoni is my idol. Look how he made it to the top. He is from Jharkhand from a poor family. If he can so can I," said Uttkarsh Kumar.

At a coaching institute for the IIT entrance exam, there is barely any time to think about the quota controversy.

Students like Kustav Mohanty argue that the anti-reservation protests have been unfair to OBC students.

"It is very important to spare a thought for those who do not have the same opportunities that are available to us. Keeping a certain section of seats reserved for these children only serves to help them out. So while it was a trend to be anti reservation, you just need to stop and think," said Kustuv.

For many students, reserved seats in the country's premier institutes probably brought them one step closer to their dream.

But with the Supreme Court now staying the implementation, their future is ridden with uncertainty, perhaps a major reason why even those against reservations are being forced to rethink.

New exam format worries IIT aspirants

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1089382

New exam format worries IIT aspirants
Shweta Shertukde
Saturday, April 07, 2007 00:53 IST

The clock is ticking for IIT aspirants. And the changed pattern of the IIT-Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) this year is the key to glory for the students who have been burning the midnight oil for months on end.

In fact, aspirants have expressed their apprehensions on whether the new pattern for the exam, scheduled for Sunday, will make their entry into the country’s premier engineering institutes any easier.

This year’s JEE will involve two exams instead of the earlier three which tested a student on three primary subjects - Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics - in three papers of three-hour duration each. In the newly-devised exam pattern, the students will now have to appear for all the above-mentioned three subjects in two papers of three-hour duration each, with the the topics divided into two.

Educationists feel the changed exam pattern will pose a challenge that involves time-management while solving the papers. “Managing time will be the most crucial factor for this year’s JEE examinees. Students should remember that this time, they will have only 60 minutes to solve one subject paper instead of the earlier three hours alloted for each subject.

“The JEE board has decided to have both exams of equal level of difficulty, thereby, testing their mental and psychological strengths,” says Shiva Kumar, director of academics at Career Launcher, an institute that specialises in preparing students for the IIT-JEE.

A further analysis of the new exam pattern, according to the educationists, pointed to the fact that more attention was being given to the CBSE and NCERT syllabus, with the JEE trying to assess the students’ in-depth knowledge of a particular subjects.

Although the aspirants for the Sunday exam have welcomed the new paper pattern as a challenge posed by the IITs, they fear that it will make the exam a difficult nut to crack. “It is a good move for assessing the students’ intellectual ability and helping them to explore it to the fullest. Each year, the JEE is becoming tougher and posing newer challenges for IIT aspirants,” said Kunal Parekh, an IIT-JEE aspirant.

Says another aspirant Siddharth Upekar, “The exam pattern followed last year was good as compared to the new one. This time round, the students will need to be extra careful about the time they spend on each paper and will have to distribute the three hours available to them depending upon the difficulty level of each subject.”

It’s not just the changed exam paper pattern that has created confusion among the aspirants, but also the recent Supreme Court judgment that has declared a stay on the 27 per cent OBC quota in the IITs and IIMs. The confusion that prevails is whether the IITs across the country have revoked their decision of implementing the 27 per cent OBC quota or not.

“The admit card distributed to us mentions separate schedules being allotted for counseling session of those belonging to the OBC category and the open category. Thus, the information mentioned in the admit card clashes with the recent SC judgement on the OBC quota,” said Sayantani Chowdhury, an IIT-JEE aspirant.

However, IIT officials clarify that care will be taken that all students will be allowed to appear for the JEE and nobody deprived of their legitimate rights.

They have also assured to streamline the admission process and resolve the prevailing confusion among the student fraternity, they say.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

IITs

An indepth assessment of IITs by Sailesh Gandhi. There was a time in india where there was a huge demand to get into Central schools......... Guess what happened over the years . IITs will suffer the same fate if we don't stem the rot. What we see in 2007 are IITs built and labs equipped in the sixties. The world of technology has moved on and all that IITs have to go by now is a Brand name and brilliant students who deserve a better and well rounded education.
According to the laws of gravity everything that goes up has to come down, unless we make a consciuous effort to keep it up there by meeting the demands of the changing world.

It is strange that HRD Minister rejects a satellite IITB based in Gujerat which makes a lot of sense, yet pushes the idea of seven more Deemed IITs and dooms the lot with 50% reservations.

I was glad to see MMJ go and I would be happier to see Arjun disappear as well. Perhaps we should push for Laloo to become HRD Minister and he may even listen to what we have to say as he is some one who is prettty astute and street smart.

Sailesh, Yeh Dosh Hamara bhi hai
The question is what can interested alumni do about it ?

Rambo


Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2007 17:25:24 +0530
From: shailesh Gandhi
Subject: IITs
Sender: shailesh2@vsnl.com

The Nation needs more facilities for education for its youth. There is a consistent refrain for allowing greater private capital into education, to ensure better quality. If there was any opinion poll on whether we should increase our IIT graduates, there would be unanimity in this, with funds being the only constraint. Yes, we might go around with a begging bowl, and feel very grateful if some rich donor were to offer the money. It would also be arranged that he would have very large say in the running of the Institution, including admissions.

However, Right to Information reveals that if the IITs are to be owned by the people of India, with only an annual cost of about 40 crores to be borne by the Central Government, the HRD ministry will refuse permission! The HRD ministry’s job is to ensure that more opportunities are made available for human development, the stake of the people of India goes up, particularly in terms of elite Institutions like IITs. But it appears to feel its job is to exercise its arrogance and instead of facilitating the growth of National Institutions, it scuttles them. Here is the exact way in which it is restraining the growth of the IITs and greater opportunities for the youth to get an IIT education. This information was obtained after an inspection of files relating to this matter under RTI.

The Gujarat Government made an offer to IIT Bombay to set up a satellite campus of IIT Bombay in Gujarat, with an offer to give 300 acres land free, no property tax, and also agreed to provide Rs. 500 crores for the capital expenses required to set up a campus initially for 1500 students. This could ultimately be increased to about 5000 students. The management would be done exclusively by IIT Bombay, and the Institute would have complete autonomy and no interference from the Gujarat Government. In short this Satellite campus of IIT would an extension of IIT Bombay, with only the running costs being borne by the Central Government. Everything would be the ownership and control of IIT Bombay. For nine months, IIT Bombay,- with the approval of its Board of Governors,- worked out the details of how this campus could come up and be operational so that its twin objectives of spreading the intake of students to benefit the large number of students aspiring for its courses could be met.

At a meeting in Delhi, Directors of IIT Bombay, Delhi and Madras all expressed their problem of space constraint for increasing the intake of students. The Secretary –HE (Higher Education, who probably thinks it means His Excellency), - shot down the proposals for Satellite campuses with the diktat that this was the domain of the Central Government (read HE, or HRD minister?). It is a shame that in the last few years, HRD instead of being a facilitator for Education, has become a fiefdom for exercising its powers and autocratic authority. The HRD ministry has been pushing for increasing the student strength without increasing the funds or facilities. This has been particularly true about the IITs and if this trend if allowed to continue, it will ensure that the autonomy and independence of IITs is strangled until they are reduced to the level of the Municipal schools. IIT Alumni and the Nation must ensure that the Government does not dilute the excellence achieved by the collective wisdom, efforts and money of the people of India. They can rally to make the Government allow the IITs to grow and proper on their path to excellence. The first step would be to allow the Satellite campus at Gujarat. Many more campuses can follow on the same lines across the Nation, with the ownership and control continuing with the people of India.


The key events revealed by the papers:

1. 23 February, 2006- Gujarat Government through its Principal Secretary,-Education,- P. Panneervel invites IIT Bombay to set up a campus in Gujarat.

2. 11 August, 2006- Board of Governors of IIT Bombay authorizes the detailed proposal, which envisages a capital cost of 600 crores and a recurring cost of Rs.37.5 crores after five years. It also mentions that Gujarat Government would mobilize the initial funds for campus construction.

3. 20 October, 2006- IIT Bombay Director seeks approval for the HRD Ministry.

4. 13 November, 2006- Gujarat Government agrees to MOU as per IIT Bombay’s suggestions.

5. 14 November, 2006 Shri P. Panneervel informed the Board of Governors that the Gujarat Government would arrange Rs.500 crores towards capital investment for the campus, in addition to the required land.

6. 14 December, 2006- Secretary HE at a meeting with IIT Directors states, that this decision can only be taken by the Central Government and tells the Directors to develop concept papers for such expansions. (HE probably meant that the IITs should produce more research papers).

shailesh gandhi
Mumbai

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Mera Bharat Mahaan...
Nahi Hai,
Per Yeh Dosh Mera Hai.

A force for change sparks innovation in India

March 3, 2007, 7:26PM
A force for change sparks innovation in India

Professor pushes entrepreneurial thinking to create hope in rural areas

ALAN T. SARACEVIC
San Francisco Chronicle


CHENNAI, INDIA — Tucked away on a leafy college campus in this booming
city of 7 million is a fiery 54-year-old professor who wants to change
the way India does business.

Ashok Jhunjhunwala doesn't teach business, though. He teaches
engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, one of
the universities that helps make up India's world-class system of
technical schools.

The IITs, as they are known around the globe, have a long history of
turning out top engineers. Thousands of their graduates have
flourished in the global technology marketplace. Many have also stayed
home, or returned to India, to help fuel the world's most quickly
growing tech economy.

But now academics like Jhunjhunwala along with the country's business
leaders want more for their students than good jobs. They're hoping to
instill in their graduates the spirit of innovation and incubation
that has been the earmark of Silicon Valley for decades. They want to
use technological invention to help India ascend.

To put it bluntly, India is sick and tired of simply cranking out the
world's best engineers. It now wants to create the world's best ideas.

To do so, it will borrow heavily from the model perfected in the U.S.
Silicon Valley, where the academics of Stanford mix with bankers and
business experts to create opportunity.

Graduates return home

Not surprisingly, many of the top supporters of IITs push into
"entrepreneurism" are the very graduates who found their way to the
San Francisco Bay Area over the past 20 or 30 years. The lessons
they've learned are now being passed back to their alma mater.

"IIT always undervalued innovation," said Jhunjhunwala, sounding a
tone somewhere between disappointed and indignant. "That's changing,
and so is our culture. You have to have the confidence and the ability
to innovate. What's great about the U.S. is they allow you to fail."

And, in a weird way, learning to fail could be the key to India's
future. The theory goes that fostering an entrepreneurial climate will
help the country overcome the massive internal social issues it faces,
mostly centered on poverty and illiteracy. The Indian intelligentsia
believe deeply that the solutions to these basic social dilemmas will
come from enterprise rather than government.

But that's not the only motivation. From a pure business standpoint,
innovating and creating its own Microsofts and Ciscos logically stands
to benefit India's spot in the global marketplace.

For over a decade now, this country's technology environment has been
built on cost arbitrage or, in plain English, cheap labor. And while
that has served India well, lifting the economy at a pace matched only
by China, the next level of global competitiveness lies in creating
markets, rather than serving them.

So professors like Jhunjhunwala are creating business incubators and
helping students grow into entrepreneurs, fighting to foster a
risk-taking, innovative culture. But as with any fight, there is
resistance.

The reluctant director

Halfway across the IIT campus in Chennai, a city formerly known as
Madras, M.S. Ananth sits in his well-appointed office overlooking the
campus, considering the direction his star professor is taking over in
the electrical engineering department.

Ananth is a chemical engineer by trade but a philosopher by
personality who finished his graduate work at the University of
Florida. He likes to say things like, "Education is the art of living
gracefully in ignorance." He's a traditional academic who wonders
about the role business should play in academia. And he happens to be
Jhunjhunwala's boss, serving as director of IIT Madras for five years.

Primarily, Ananth is concerned that U.S. academic models are creeping
into the IIT system. He worries that "people who are bringing in money
are getting more and more important. That worries me about the U.S.
graduate schools." And it's beginning to worry him about IIT as well.

"As teachers, we were taught that once you learn something, you go to
class and tell people about it," Ananth said. "Now, you go and patent it."

The concern is that profit motive will supersede the search for
knowledge, a notion that academics in the United States wrestled with
in the 1960s.

At Stanford, businesses stemming from academic research are so common
now that the university doesn't even have a formal business incubator.
Entrepreneurship is in the culture.

Rajeev Motwani, a Stanford computer science professor and a 1983 IIT
graduate, understands where the director is coming from but doesn't
see any real threat.

"The IITs are doing the right thing. They have to jump-start the
process," Motwani said. "And one way to do it is to create an
institutional incubation process. It's good for society at large. The
only catch, I suppose, would be conflicts of interest. Are academic
principles being violated? It's a question, but I'm not concerned
about that."

Not in denial

Despite his misgivings, Ananth is not in denial. He understands the IT
boom has created entrepreneurial possibilities never imagined by
chemical engineers of his generation. And so he is overseeing the
creation of a research and development park on the grounds of IIT
Madras, where 620 acres of "academic land," as he put it, will be
transformed into a center where private industry can intermingle with
academic innovation.

"Research parks have made tremendous contributions," Ananth said. "But
you must maintain the academic environment. The university is a place
where you look for unity in concepts."

And it's a place where young students hope to change the world.

Whatever tension may exist on a theoretical level at the IIT is less
evident on a practical plane. Jhunjhunwala and some of his colleagues,
for instance, recognized that his university did not want to get into
the venture capital business. So, true to his philosophy, he innovated.

The professor created a business incubator called the Tenet Group to
help foster technology startups. But, in a classic Indian twist, the
mandate is quite different.

Rather than trying to build the next Yahoo or Google to serve the
world, Tenet's entrepreneurs are hoping to serve the needs of rural India.

As Jhunjhunwala put it: "We formed Tenet with the objective of taking
IIT students to the next level. We also decided to focus on rural
areas, where 700 million of India's 1.1 billion people still live.
We're trying to show that innovation can happen in our own markets. In
doing so, we're coming up with new ideas to help the nation."

Walking around the group's offices, which are integrated into the IIT
campus, one can see many examples of this "socially conscious
entrepreneurship":

•Midas Communications Ltd., one of the earliest Tenet companies, has
grown to deliver telecom services to millions across India using
breakthrough wireless routing. The company employs 600 in Chennai and
does business in 25 other countries.

•Oops Private Ltd. is creating ways to bring video conferencing to
remote villages, using the existing, low-end technologies available.
Oops has figured out a way to do video conferencing on bandwidth as
low as 20 Kbps, allowing kids to attend classes with teachers hundreds
of miles away.

•ReMeDi Ltd. is using similar bandwidth optimization technology to
help villages that have no doctors. And they're delivering the systems
for the equivalent of $250.

The list goes on. Low-cost weather stations. Rural ATMs that cost
about $1,200 compared with the usual $10,000 to $15,000. Thin-client
computers that cost about $100. It's all coming out of an IIT system
once derided for a lack of innovation.

Saloni Desi Crew is a 25-year-old entrepreneur working with Tenet to
create job-training software for small villages so people can be
trained to perform data entry and indexing jobs for clients around the
world.

20 job centers

She has about 20 job centers in rural India, employing about 60 people.

"It's the best for everyone involved," Desi Crew said. "Cost-cutting
for the client. Work for the rural areas."

Whether these ideas translate into real money and big companies
remains to be seen, although Jhunjhunwala stresses that the rural
solutions that work in India would logically translate to
underdeveloped nations worldwide.

If anything, the people behind the Tenet Group hope to do even more.
As one of their signs in the hallway says, their dreams are big:
"Doubling per-capita rural GDP of India" and "Building a few
billion-dollar telecom product companies in India."

A key obstacle

One of the key obstacles facing India's push to create a high-flying
startup culture is the environment in which the students and
entrepreneurs operate.

There is no institutional memory to tap into, no history or tradition
of entrepreneurship to cull. But there is a scattering of successful
IIT graduates to draw from.

In the Bay Area, groups like the Indus Entrepreneurs and Pan IIT have
formed to help Indian startups stateside and back in India. They offer
practical advice and even venture capital in some instances.

Indeed, in Chennai, Professor Jhunjhunwala sees his vision being realized.

"Innovation happens when three types get together: a professor, an
experienced businessperson and a student who does not know it can't be
done," Jhunjhunwala said.

-----------------

kumar

FYI Deemed IITs letter to President of india Jan 2006

31st January 2006

Hon. President Dr Abdul Kalam,
Hon. Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh
Hon. HRD Minister Mr. Arjun Singh,
Hon Minister of State for HRD Mr. Mohd. Ali Ashraf Fatmi

Re: More Deemed IITs that have been proposed by HRD Ministry

A group of concerned alumni from IITs have created a public petition in response to news from media that HRD Ministry proposes to rename seven existing engineering colleges that have been short listed, as IITs so that they can be funded on par with IITs. We do not want to believe that this is factual yet cannot afford not to convey our concerns in case media reports turn out to be correct..

The text of the petition as has been signed by over 3200 concerned IIT alumni & Indian Citizens world wide is copied under for your perusal.

Matching funding alone cannot convert any existing institution into an IIT. Seven IITs as it is are struggling to find suitably qualified and talented faculty members to fill vacancies. This being the case how are we going to find the best faculty for fourteen IITs to maintain standards ?

The colleges short listed have been around for many years and are currently serving the needs of the State where they are located. Once they are renamed as IITs their intake will be from the National JEE Pool. This creates a problem for the students of the concerned state who do not take or pass JEE.. Will we not be affecting these students who will be forced instead of attending an REC for example to look for admission in engineering colleges interstate or overseas, where they will stand very little chance unless they pay huge fortunes ?? This could have serious consequences for the concerned states in the long run as one REC will disappear every time one REC gets converted to an IIT

When PM Rajiv Gandhi created IIT Guahati, the Nation applauded the move.. This was not the same when Roorkee University was renamed IIT Roorkee.

There is also this constant demand from many states clamoring for an IIT. This however does not make sense at all, as IITs are autonomous and state governments have no influence on them. Plus student intake is from a national exam and does not even serve the students of the state.. Most people seem to miss this point as the location of a new IIT is not at all relevant.. We could create an IIT in the deserts of Rajhastan or for that matter on a floating platform at sea and still make it function like all existing IITs, maintaining the discipline and culture

We are not at all against creation of Brand new IITs. In fact more IITs will serve the nation better by meeting the demand. What we are opposed to is the government wanting to rename existing institutions as IITs. The reason is simple, if you begin an institution from scratch with certain vision and mission, it will shape up accordingly. Therefore, we are happy with sixth new IIT at Guwahati. However, we are not comfortable with University of Roorkee being renamed as the seventh IIT. This has resulted in the crisis of identity for UoR - just imagine the senior alumni of UoR before renaming not being clear whether to call themselves as alumni of UoR or IITR.


Also just by renaming we cannot overnight change the culture of an existing institution. You will, therefore, kindly appreciate that renaming will in fact dilute, undermine and create confusion about the brand equity which IITs have achieved over the last fifty years.

As an analogy, every mother would love to give birth to her own babies and when she is not fortunate she would adopt young babies and nurture them.
However adopting & fostering teenagers and adults who are set in their ways and expecting them to change and remould is unimaginable

It has taken a long time for the IITs to establish their brand image and one of the concerns of IIT Alumni is getting this image tarnished by institutions of lower standards lacking in academic rigor being renamed as IITs. There seems to be no doubt about the need for more IITs and IIMs looking at the size of India and the talent pool available.


The real concern seems to be that the institutions renamed as IITs may not have the academic rigor needed to be equated with IITs. It takes a very long time to develop a culture like that of IITs. Overnight renaming of institutions as IITs is not a solution to for India's need for superior technical and management manpower to meet demand. It is very difficult to change the culture of state run institution under the University System.

Yes, some of the RECs may qualify to be upgraded to the status equal to that of IITs after an incubation period. First they should be upgraded and the necessary changes incorporated in their working, facility, recruitment, administration and most importantly the academic rigor. The existing IITs together with their Alumni must be allowed a say to decide whether another institution qualifies to be renamed as an IIT without any government interference, assuming IITs are truly autonomous .

If the Government of India is really serious about encouraging quality higher education, they should develop New IITs at least one in each state to suit market demand. The core of the whole issue is funding. The Government of India and the state governments do not seem to be willing to invest money in the future of the country's higher education. Otherwise what prevents the government to establish new IITs? It seems that GOI simply wants to please some of the states or their political allies by the renaming exercise without allocating additional resources.

Another important issue is affecting the academic rigor is the shortage of quality faculty. Unless the Government of India is willing to offer much better pay scales and service conditions, it would be very difficult to get quality faculty to run even the existing IITs and maintain current high standards leave alone seven more.

Please keep the nations dream alive and perhaps create a new IIT each year with foreign collaboration following the exact model that became a roaring success called IITs. This would make the new IITs state of the art engineering schools even far more advanced in terms of laboratories and equipment than current seven Its.

Sirs, IITians have been branded in many quarters as self centered individuals who got the best education using Indian taxpayers money only to migrate enmass to USA for better careers..causing brain drain..

As we all know charity begins at home and on aircrafts passengers are instructed to adorn the Oxygen mask first before attending to children..

We IITians of yester years had very little scope for employment in India when we graduated. One’s who were fortunate stayed back and the less fortunate or those who wanted to study further went abroad. It was merely a supply and demand equation driven by market forces that caused the so called brain drain.. We are indebted to the Indian govt for not blocking iitians from going abroad as in year 2006 we would not be in a position to give back to the nation..

This petition would not have been created had IITians been self centred as acused. This team is working on a white paper on taking IITs to the next level to be submitted to GoI for consideration


Yours sincerely

Ram Krishnaswamy
Sydney, Australia
www.iitglobal.org

On behalf of concerned IIT Alumni and Citizens of India.

........................................................................................
Original Petition as follows:
http://www.petitiononline.com/SaveIITs/petition.html

Extracts of comments in the petition are blogged under
http://saveiits.blogspot.com/

...............................................................

Hon. Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh & Hon. HRD Minister Mr.Arjun Singh,

It took a great visionary like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to create the five IITs, getting UNESCO, USA, Germany, UK & Russia to fund, furbish, staff them and nurture them for ten years. It took 125000 IITians 50 long years to establish the IITs as a Global Brand Name, aided by the autonomous structure & funds granted to the IITs by the Government of India.

This valuable Brand name belongs to the Indian Government, the IIT administrators and the real achievers, the alumni of IITs who have done the nation proud. Such excellence and recognition has to be achieved the hard way and is neither transferable nor can it be gained by association of the name.

We understand that, towards enhancing the quality of education in India there are now, moves afoot to name several existing colleges as IITs. While the governments overall goals are laudable, we would like to strongly urge honourable ministers to consider the potential damage to the IIT brand name, by such a move.

Instead, we urge the government to name these colleges as Hindustan Institutes of Technology (HITs) or a more suitable name, give them better funding than IITs and further empower them to succeed under their own brand name by making them all operationally autonomous along the lines of the IITs. Let the Government t create healthy competition between IITs and HITs and even go a step further and make faculty transferable between IITs and HITs so every one benefits through this exchange.

Taking the concept further HITs can benefit even more from official joint ventures with foreign universities of repute in countries like USA, UK, Australia, Canada and Singapore. This will encourage annual exchange of faculty and UG and PG students, besides raising research to international standards. What better way to accelerate this new Brand name and give IITs good healthy competition ?

The GOI should fund not just seven but many more engineering colleges in India, at least one in each state for a start, to raise their standards and to significantly increase the well-trained manpower pool of the nation, which is of national strategic interest especially in the IT/ITES and other emerging economic sectors.

However, we request you to please refrain from calling these colleges IITs or Deemed IITs since a brand name typically only gets diluted when it gets distributed around. After all, there is only one Oxford, one MIT, one Harvard, one Cambridge and one Sydney University in the world.

We strongly feel that the proposal to rename the seven existing colleges Deemed IITs will result in fourteen doomed IITs, a few years down the road. Please do not downgrade the nation's Temples of Technology & Islands of Excellence, the IITs, that visionaries in your party played a key role in building soon after independence.

The Brand Name that IITs hold today are a result of their intellectual capital, quality infrastructure, selective intake of students through JEE, and most of all, operational autonomy. Above all, the five primary IITs have managed to evolve a unique academic culture over the last fifty years and that culture will be hard to replicate at any other institution. The culture includes components such as faculty who were all recruited for an IIT right from the beginning, inputs from foreign sponsors into the formation and development of each IIT, high quality students from the day of formation etc. which will be difficult to replicate at any other institution that has already been in existence for several years and has developed its own culture.

The Nation will salute the President of India Dr Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh and HRD Minister Mr.Arjun Singh for making the right decision that will serve our children of future generations.

Petition created and submitted on behalf of the following Humble servants of the Nation::

Ram Krishnaswamy, B.Tech, IITM-1970
Dr.V.N.Sharma, M.Tech, IITK-1978
Sriram Vajpayam, B.Tech, IITM-1985
Bhuvan Prasad, B.Tech, IITK-1982
K.K.Subramanian, B.Tech, IITKgp-1970
Ashish Agarwal, B.Tech, IITM-1997
Atif Hussain, B.Tech, IITK-2003
Barun Kumar, B.Tech, IITK-1992
Ramakrishnan Rajamani, B Tech, IITM 1965
Raj Varadarajan, B.Tech IITM-1966
Sanat Agrawal, BTech, IITK-1988
Ajay Kumar Singh, B.Tech, IIT-R-2003
Varun Arya, M.Sc, IITD-1976
Gaurav Vaish B Tech IITK 2000

Yours sincerely
Ram Krishnaswamy
Sydney Australia
www.iitglobal.org