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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