Features Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 05:30
By Ajatshatru Sharma  Finance minister Arun Jaitley in his maiden budget speech few days back had announced the opening up of five new IIT’s and IIM’s in the country. A month ago HRD minister Mrs. Smriti Zubin Irani “wished” to open eight new IITs across the country. This infatuatedly ill- thought idea of the government seems to be more politically motivated and geographically driven to please the motley, thirsty, hungry and angry electorate in coming years by empty grandiloquence- “to end your woes, see we got an IIT in your town/state.”  Modi Sarkar’s initiative to establish new IIT and IIM institutes could require an expenditure of atleast Rs 2000 crores per IIT and Rs 1000 crores per IIM, to make it fully functional. But the total budget allotted by Mr. Jaitley for the purpose is just Rs 500 crores. And I wonder, is this kind of joke that is being cracked by our FM? Faculty crunch, location, land acquisition and lack of physical infrastructure are the biggest challenge in the higher education system in India. According to the reply by the former Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. Shashi Tharoor to a question in Parliament (April 2013) approximately 42% of the faculty positions are still vacant in the IITs. Almost half are vacant in the NITs. If an engineering institute that is merely given the name IIT solves the problem with India’s educational sector, why not rename all our engineering colleges as IITs? Let's have 10,000 of them. The fact is the education sector remains frontier which is yet untouched by reforms. Any chance of reform and innovation in the archaic higher education system in the country has faced severe criticism in the past. Higher education in India is still largely over-regulated and under-governed, burdened with the same old syllabus and teaching methodology. Not beyond redemption No matter how grim the picture is, there is always a room for improvement. With the existing problems faced by our IITs and IIMs, the new ones will be nothing but just another tributary of the existing problem. The ones started by the previous UPA government are still struggling to make their mark. Many don’t have a campus for themselves.  Why don’t we nurture the already existing ones, instead of finding land for new ones that is to be built? Why not make the already existing ones better and of world-class quality? We should focus on improving their research output, faculty recruitment and trainings, international collaborations etc. We can even ask the student of IITs and IIMs on what exactly the present system lacks.  Brain drain is another problem when it comes to the highly educated in India. We are not able to provide employment in our country to the pass outs of already existing IITs. Why does the government want to burden the exchequer by opening new IITs and IIMs and subsidizing education when ultimately a student of these prestigious Indian institutes does not end up getting a job? Eventually they go abroad in search of opportunities. The way out here is to focus on allowing compensation to be flexible enough to attract the best and the brightest IIT-IIM alumnus Indian diaspora to return to their motherland and start teaching in their alma mater. South Korea and China have followed an excellent model of incentivizing world-class diaspora to return and contribute to their motherland. The world best Harvard University is still the one and only university which stand tall on the same campus where it was established in the year 1636 in Boston- Massachusetts. One should wonder why our rulers seem so obsessed to replicate the Pizza parlors and Burger outlets expansion model into our higher education system. The best solution can only be to strengthen our already existing higher institutes by making out ways to eradicate problems and anomalies that are prevalent.  People expect more from the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi government, rather than presenting old wine in a new bottle.
Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.