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Saturday, October 22, 2011

500 IITs, 50 IIMs and 550 AIIMS

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That's all we need to fix the education system of India. Quiet simple isn't it ! Same old, 4-5 fixed formula is not all is you need to appease, woo voters, snatch and retain power in India, today. That's what our current and even previous Minister of Human Resource Development and the GOI believe in general.

Blame it to lack of creativity or to inability to prepare a comprehensive master plan to revamp the business of higher education in India. Is it so hard to manufacture different names for different Universities? I think the ministries and bureaucrats needs to take some lessons in creativity from the Saas Bahu brigade, who keeps on creating new characters, sub plots under super plots for decades or the celebrated Roshans who keeps on inventing news names for their movies despite having the severe 'K' restriction.

IIT Kanpur is all set to establish a center in Noida and in parallel IIT Roorke is planning to open a research center in Noida, while my Alma-mater IIT Bombay is contemplating to set up campus in New York! Now that's some out of the box thinking ! With elections round the corner and Congress seems to be loosing battle on most of the fronts, I wont be surprised if in the name of progress Congress announce opening of another 5000 IITs, 5050 AIIMS and 50 IIMs in next 5 years. Very soon, we can run into some interesting conversations-

Ram- Hi, I am from IIT Baroda, Mysore, Behind Cloth Market.
Shyam- Hey, even I am from IIT Baroda, Mysore, but on left side of Cloth Market !
Radheshyam - Good to meet you guys. I am also from IIT Baroda, Mysore, above Cloth Market !!

All the newly set and old IITs are struggling to fill in 1000 odd vacant faculty positions. The swanky buildings of private Daring to think beyond Lovely universities and institutes have launched a full throttle advertising campaigns to woo the students. But who cares what's inside the box ! The packing should be attractive.

I am not at all questioning the need to open more institutes of advance learning and research in each and every district of India. I am not trying to question the great service IIT, IIM, AIIMS and several such universities have rendered over the years. My point is why cant we create competing brands? Why are we hell bent on converting all Oranges to Apples? Why cant we create an ecosystem in which Baroda Institute of Technology competes with IIT Baroda? Each university can offer something new, something different be it options of courses or pedagogy. Why cant government prepare a comprehensive master plan, before conducting a inauguration ceremony photo session for ever news hungry news papers?  Do we only need more Engineers, Doctors and Managers? What about adding new universities in the field of Literature, Fine Arts, History and Political Sciences?

Despite being admired by several Business and Political honchos of the west, none of the best of cream universities of India, appear in the list of top 50 universities of the world in any category and barely couple of them could make it to top 100! We can either choose to bask in the glory of these words of appreciation we have been receiving OR we can attempt to rethink, re-look at what we have achieved so far, whats wrong with the current situation and what all is yet to be achieved ! India is ranked way down when it comes to Per Capita spending on Primary Education and Higher Education. Which implies, we haven't done anything extra-ordinary by investing in reasonable infrastructure at IITs and IIMs, which is definitely best at domestic levels, but when compared at International level, reminds me of the famous Robert Frost's poem-

He Gives his harness bells a shake,
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep,
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The Woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.






7 comments:

  1. Nice post :) Well reasoned! will have to follow this blog :)

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  2. The lack of government interest in providing quality education is sad...interesting article..

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  3. thanks Enigma, Rahul for the comments.I think improving the quality of institutes of higher education is a goal, which we simply cant afford to miss !!

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  4. oh well! one of the guys I knew at work got in to IIM-Kozhikode and I was like, WTF!

    Neither that guy deserved an IIM tag nor I believe in standards of IIM-Kozhi. They are mushrooming institutes.

    However, having said that, certainly from the POV of population and quota, this might be a right move.

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  5. Insightful..indeed everything seems to be a eye wash for our policy makers...open new institutions and we are done with our work....as you rightly pointed out...our spending on education is poor and shows the lack of interest in investing in human resource development... truly embarrassing and shameful.

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  6. the hogwash is simply not acceptable and the stakes are insanely high!!

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  7. the conversation of Ram/Shyam drives home the point very well. god forbid the day it actually happens!

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