Sunday, June 25, 2006


A fair, balanced, merit oriented and sensible plan for new IITs and IIT cousins (IIEST)

Since the idea of establishing a few more IITs was proposed
few years back, several institutions were evaluated and 7 were shortlisted.
However the evaluation process excluded the NITs, several of which
are better ranked (see ) than 6 of the 7 initially shortlisted. Now a news report
(see,0035.htm ) says that the shortlist is further reduced to 5 and the plan is to make them IIEST (Indian Inst of Engg Sc and Tech) instead of IITs.

Following are my suggestions:

(i) IT BHU should be upgraded to an IIT, as it is already ranked
higher than two of the IITs and it is better than all the NITs.
However this will further skew the distribution of national
institutes across India (see ). It can and should be taken care of by implementing the suggestions below.

(ii) IIEST: 5-1 = 4 of the shortlisted institutes (Bengal engg
coll, Jadavpur, CUSAT, Osmania, Andhra) are ranked lower than many
NITs. (see ) Hence
it does not make sense for these schools to have a higher standing
and funding than NITs. It is also unfair to the NITs. Thus besides
the 5-1 = 4 shortlisted institutes to be made IIEST, 5-6 NITs that
are as good or better than these 4 shortlisted institutes should
also be made into IIESTs. Over the years efforts should be made to
have an IIEST in every state through upgrading. Also, when an NIT is
upgraded to an IIEST in a state, another engineering college in that
state should be upgraded to an NIT. Thus in 10 years every major
state (for example all states that have an NIT now) should have an
NIT and an IIEST.

(iii) new IITs: There will still be a need for the top branded IITs.
However, to protect the brand name, new IITs should be made with
utmost care. But the issue of finding top faculty as well as the
issue of funding remains. To counter that, as well as for regional
balance the following strategy should be used.

Mini-IITs should be established in five to six states (such as
Orissa, Bihar, Rajasthan) that are way behind (see ) in terms of
national level institutes like IITs and IIMs, with a plan to make
them into a full-fledged IIT in 10 years. Each of these mini-IITs
would have a mentor from among the existing IITs whose mandate would
be to make the new IIT. For example, IIT Kharagpur has an extension
center ( ) in
Bhubaneswar (in Orissa which does not have an IIT or IIM) that
currently offers PGDIT ( ) This
can be declared as a mini-IIT and IIT Kharagpur can be given
responsibility to turn it into a full-fledged IIT in 10 years. They
can start with graduate programs, and add one department every year,
introduce undergraduate programs in 3-4 years, and so on, until it
becomes a full-fledged IIT in 10 years.

Chitta Baral
Professor, Arizona State University

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?