Saturday, September 30, 2006
NEW DELHI: The Veerappa Moily panel has recommended a review of all reservation schemes in educational institutions every five years. It has, however, steered clear of the politically volatile issue of excluding the 'creamy layer' among OBCs from the ambit of job quota because of a serious in-house split.
The panel, which was set up to chart out the roadmap for implementation of the newly introduced OBC quota in Central educational institutions, has in its final report released on Wednesday, recommended the setting up of three more IIMs along with more IIT-type institutions.
Called Oversight Committee, the panel has, just like the Bill on reservations in aided institutions, recommended a three-year timeframe for rolling out the OBC quota in Central institutions, overruling IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Indore, which had asked for four years to implement the reservation scheme.
It has called for a Rs 17,200-crore package to fund the infrastructure upgrade so that there is no decline in general-category seats.
"In order to retain the general seats intact after giving 27% reservation to OBCs, 54% seat expansion would be needed which can be done at the rate of 18% every year for three years," Moily told reporters.
The panel has also recommended a hike in scholarships for students.
The proposal to set up three new IIMs should come as a relief to the droves eager to have seats in the business schools bearing the prestigious tag. As for IIT-type institutions, HRD ministry has already decided to give this status to nearly 10 National Institutes of Technology.
Explaining the roadmap, Moily said: "Implementation will begin in 2007-08 and no institution will slip out over and above three years. During our consultations with heads of various institutions, we found that staggered implementation is the best way.
In a strongly-worded letter to deputy chairman of Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Rao said, "I find that the document as a whole is rather weak and not sufficiently focussed. I feel that few important aspects need to be highlighted... some sentences are confusing."
He took exception to the commission's view that while some institutions of higher education compare well with the best in the world, the average standard is much lower.
Rao said, "There are no institutions in India, as far as I know, which are comparable to the best of the institutions in the advanced countries."
He also highlighted stark disparities in regard to educational and R&D institutions. "Over 60% are located in just six to eight states.
The planning process needs to address these institutional disparities for their influence is so great on the distribution of employment opportunities in the country," the note states.
"It is timely and important that India invests imaginatively and largely in higher education, with research of quality. The numerical challenges are daunting. Annually, we produce around 5,000 Ph.Ds in science and about 800 Ph.Ds in engineering.
"If India has to lay claim to being a knowledge-based economic power, the number of Ph.Ds of quality by world standards should be five times the number that we are currently producing," it states.
In his reply to the CM, Singh said the request will be "considered at the appropriate time'' as the ministry is engaged in cost-effective options like increasing the intake in existing IITs and upgradation of promising academic institutes.
Overlooking Bangalore and NIT-K Suratkal, CM H D Kumaraswamy had made a strong pitch for establishing IIT in former PM Deve Gowda's home constituency — Hassan.
In the proposal sent to the ministry on August 11, the CM had committed himself to provide 1,000 acres of land free of cost in Hassan and also make investment to improve connectivity.
These promises, obviously, have clearly failed to impress the HRD minister.
Arjun Singh has told Kumaraswamy: "At present, cost-effective options such as increase in intake in the existing IITs an upgradation of academic institutes are being facilitated. However, depending on the availability of resources, a view on opening new IITs will be taken in the 11th Five Year Plan period and your request will also be considered then.''
In the proposal, the state government had asked the Centre to fund major part of the one-time expenditure on buildings and equipment. "Karnataka can substantially fill in the gap by mobilising resources from the private sector.
This participation would enhance academic quality as well create a stake for the private sector,'' CM had said.
Though the Planning Commission's approach paper to the 11th Five-Year Plan states that at least 20 universities could be upgraded during the period, it does not specify the number of IITs that could be set up between 2007 and 2011.
With 27 per cent OBC reservations coming into effect from next year, the Centre will be spending a whopping Rs 9326.32 crore in IITs, NITs and other central technical institutes in the country over a five-year period.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Yogesh K Upadhyaya
September 28, 2006
It is well-known that the following seven engineering colleges were chosen for possible conversion to Indian Institutes of Technology / Institutes of National Importance:
Aligarh Muslim University -- Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh;
Andhra University -- College of Engineering, Visakhapatanam, Andhra Pradesh;
Banaras Hindu University -- Institute of Technology (IT-BHU), Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh;
Bengal Engineering College, Howrah, West Bengal;
Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Kochi, Kerala;
Jadavpur University's Engineering and Technology Departments, Kolkata, West Bengal; and
Osmania University -- College of Engineering and College of Technology, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
These educational institutes were shortlisted on the basis of the recommendation of the S K Joshi Committee. To narrow down the selection and to formulate a long-term policy for the establishment of national institutes, a three-member expert committee headed by Dr M Anandakrishnan was sent to the campuses of those seven colleges towards the end of last year.
Other members of the committee were Dr D V Singh and Dr Amitabha Ghosh.
The committee held wide-ranging discussions with college heads, vice chancellors of the respective universities, and officials from the concerned state governments. The committee submitted a final report and recommendations to the Union ministry of human resources development on February 13, 2006. But meetings and discussions with concerned parties continued even after that.
The MHRD meeting
The office of the Union ministry of human resources development (MHRD) invited representatives of the seven colleges and associated universities and state government officials to New Delhi to discuss IIT/INI status on September 1, 2006. During the meeting, copies of the report prepared by the three-member panel (called the Anandakrishnan Report) were distributed and the contents were discussed.
During the meeting, the MHRD representative informed all parties that the colleges would not be called 'IITs' after conversion due to the political sensitivity of the issue.
He also said that two colleges -- namely the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and the Jadavpur University (JU) -- shall not be converted because of difficulty of separating them from the parent universities and also because of the lack of availability of adjoining space for future expansion.
For the remaining five colleges, the MHRD representative stated that all of them would be given INI status.
He further clarified that the government would like to convert them to a new system of national institutes to be called IIEST (Indian Institutes of Engineering Science and Technology), provided they meet some requirements.
The requirements to be met for conversion to IIEST are: the institutes should be fully under central government control, admission to these institutes should be through national examinations, et cetera.
The Anandakrishnan Report
The 114-page Anandakrishnan Report discusses the potential of each college to acquire IIT-like/INI status. The report analyses available infrastructure, faculty strength, admission process, type of governance, research output, etc. for each one of them.
The report states that India needs different types of engineers and different types of colleges that can advance the frontiers of science and engineering. It also feels the need for setting up institutes, which are a blend of the IITs and the IISc (Indian Institute of Science.
The Anandakrishnan Report notes that 90 per cent of the over 1,300 engineering colleges in India offer only basic engineering degrees and that the nation needs more colleges providing masters and doctorate level degrees. The report states that such colleges should be provided adequate funding for the next five-years to lift them up to the level of IITs.
It recommends that such colleges should be fully funded by the central government, which will also control them. The colleges will admit students through national level exams. The colleges will not have any 4-year B. Tech level programmes.
The expert committee identified five colleges (out of seven) having the potential to become IIESTs, subject to meeting certain criteria.
The IIESTs will be established through an Act of Parliament. They will be accorded the status of the Institutes of National Importance (INI).
A college must be fully separated from the parent university and the respective state government, before it can become an IIEST. It will have a governance system (dean, students' council, faculty council, etc.) similar to that of the IITs. There will also be an apex body, called the IIEST Council, to coordinate activities among all IIESTs.
The college admission will be through a national level entrance examination, the exact type of examination is to be decided. It may be through IIT-JEE, AIEEE or through another common entrance examination for all colleges. The admission for post-graduate courses will be through GATE only.
This is a unique concept being introduced in India. The highlights of which are:
The IIESTs will offer 5-year integrated dual degree (B.Tech-M.Tech) programmes in the field of engineering, 2-year M. Tech programmes (for students of other colleges), 5-year integrated M.Sc. programme in Applied Sciences and PhD programmes. The existing 4-year B. Tech programmes shall be discontinued in next five years.
There will be liberal scholarships available to all M.Tech/PhD students and final year of five-year dual programmes.
There will be liberal students and faculty exchange programmes with overseas universities. A substantial proportion (about 20-30%) of total students admitted to 2-year M. Tech and PhD programmes shall be international students. Foreign students will receive the same facilities and scholarships as those received by Indian students.
A student-teacher ratio (STR) of 8-to-1 shall be maintained. The faculties shall be recruited on a national basis and minimum qualification of a faculty shall be a doctorate degree. The cadre structures, salary scales and service conditions shall be similar to those at IITs. The position of lecturers shall be minimised and considered as temporary. To attract talented faculty, housing and recreation facility shall be provided at the campus. The entire student body and faculty and at least 50 per cent of the support staff will have housing facility on campus.
Establishment of two Centres of Excellence for each IIEST has been planned, based upon the area of its strength, and based on national needs. In case of AMU/JU, one Center of Excellence shall be established.
It is expected that by 2011, IIESTs as a group will produce 5,000 post-graduates, including 1,000 PhDs, each year.
This is the most important aspect for any educational institution to succeed. The features of MHRD's plan for financing these institutes are (approximately):
All figures and planning for finance are for next the five years, under 11th Five-Year Plan. The funding will start from March 2007, when the formalities of establishing IIESTs are expected to be completed. The funding is projected till March 2012. After that, the annual grants may match with those of IITs.
During the next five years, each college will receive an annual grant of Rs 45-50 crore (Rs 450-500 million). This will be of great help to many colleges, which currently receive only Rs 10-20 crore (Rs 100-20 million) per year from their respective state governments. For IT-BHU, the amount will be almost the same as it receives (Rs 45 crore a year) today.
The colleges shall also receive a one-time funding (spread over five years) of Rs 250-300 crore (Rs 2.5-3 billion). This will be used to improve the infrastructure, including hostels, lecture halls, library, 50-100 Mbps Internet connectivity, workshops, laboratories, recreation facilities, etc. on the campus. AMU/JU shall receive Rs 50 crore for infrastructure improvement.
Each college shall receive a total of Rs 400-550 crore (Rs 4-5.5 billion) over the next five years, including annual grant and one-time funding. Total outlay for all the five colleges is calculated as Rs 2,400 crore (Rs 24 billion) for the duration of 11th Five-Year Plan.
In comparison, each IIT receives an average of Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) as annual grant. It also receives Rs 20 to 40 crore (Rs 200-400 million) per year as research grant.
Three more IITs proposed
The ride to IIEST is not a smooth one for the central government or for the colleges. Before converting an institute into an IIEST, the central government has to satisfy all the concerned parties. Since colleges are just small players in the overall power equation, they do not have any say in government decision.
Similarly, universities, which depend upon state and central governments for funding and support, have a very limited say in the outcome.
In case the MHRD succeeds in convincing the respective state governments to accept this proposal, other state governments can create problems in implementing it. The central government has taken this factor into account and plans to introduce more IITs.
The Moily Committee is seriously discussing a proposal for the establishment of three brand-new IITs. The locations are not disclosed yet, but Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar are in the race. Similarly, some of the IITs are planning extension centres/satellite campuses in other states, at a cost of Rs 700-800 crore (Rs 7-8 billion).
Separating a college from the control of state government appears to be a political problem. Although a state government, which has nurtured and controlled the excellent colleges for decades, may be reluctant to relinquish control at first, they understand that central government funding is essential to improve the standards of these institutes and central government is not going to fund unless a centrally administered council manages these institutes.
However, the MHRD is trying to provide incentives to the state governments so that they relinquish control of these institutes, by proposing either to set-up brand new IITs or extension centres of an existing IIT in that state. These extension centres will become full-fledged IITs later on.
For the state of Andhra Pradesh, it means that they will have an IIT if the two identified schools are converted to IIEST. For the state of West Bengal, an extension centre of IIT-Kharagpur is being planned near Kolkata, and the state of Kerala will benefit by an extension centre of IIT-Madras that is coming up at Trivandrum.
Another issue concerns admission tests for IIESTs. As per the proposal, an IIEST must take students through IIT-JEE, AIEEE or some common entrance examination. IT-BHU is already admitting students through IIT-JEE.
The Joint Admission Board of IITs (which conducts IIT-JEE) may not allow all the four remaining colleges to its admission test. In fact, with more brand-new IITs and extension centres coming up in near future, chances are slim for other colleges to join JEE. Such colleges can opt for another reputed national level exam, called AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam).
About 525,000 candidates appeared for this exam this year, for 20 NITs (National Institutes of Technology) and an equal number of other colleges.
However, this will create another problem: For common admission, how to compare the ranks from both the exams? How will a group of colleges (IIEST) exist with different admission criteria?
Creating an altogether new national level examination like SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) taken by college-bound students in the United States, through which all students will be selected, can solve this problem. This way, an average student will not have to appear for three separate national examinations (IIT-JEE, AIEEE and IIESTs).
The IIESTs will offer only five-year dual degree programmes. Thus, this concept will be good for our country that is destined to become an industrial and technology leader in near future. This will provide us with a steady stream of qualified scientists and technologists.
It is also good for a student seriously interested in pursuing study in technical subjects. However, if any student wants to get a simple engineering degree just to get a job, pursue management studies, become an entrepreneur, or get a higher degree abroad, he will have to pursue his education in another institute or study for an additional year.
The annual funding for each IIEST will be less than half of that received by an average IIT, and at the same time it is expected to produce more than twice the number of postgraduates and doctorates.
A case for converting existing colleges into IITs
The S K Joshi Committee which was formed to identify institutes most ready for conversion to IITs, short-listed seven colleges for converting to IIT status after careful consideration. It is really sad to note that they were subsequently found to be not suitable.
It is possible to convert five colleges into IITs with the total cost similar to setting up a brand-new (grassroots) IIT. Also, the existing experienced faculty can be utilized to provide quality education.
Take for example: the case of Bengal Engineering College. The second oldest engineering college (after University of Roorkee, now IIT Roorkee) in the country, should have been declared an IIT a long time ago, without any need to form a committee. This college provided substantial percentage of faculty to the IITs since their inceptions.
Similarly, IT-BHU is faithfully taking students for the last 35 years exclusively through IIT-JEE; and its academic programmes, curriculum and examination methodology are mirror images of those of IITs. It has 85% faculty with doctorate degree and was placed 2nd (next to IISc) in terms of research output in 2003 in a World Bank study, commissioned by the central government. Still it has been denied the entry to join the IIT system.
In the same way, other colleges also have potential to become an IIT.
Establishing new institutions solely for postgraduate studies in engineering, science and technology is a bold approach by the government. It will take at least a decade to build-up the brand image. If the experiment succeeds, it will take the industrial growth of our country in a new direction.
Monday, September 11, 2006
The proposed sub-centre of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, possibly would be set up at a 250-acre land currently in possession of the Animal Welfare Department in Vithura, in Thiruvananthapuram district.
A consensus in this regard has been reached in a discussion between the Kerala Government and the officials of the IIT, Chennai, reports said.
The sus-centre would be later developed as a full-fledged one over a period of five years.
Kerala and Pondicherry were considered for the project and Kerala was selected since large number of students from Kerala join the IIT-Chennai every year.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
more on IIT demands for Karnataka
Mumbai Mirror, India -
Bangalore: The Karnataka government is lobbying for setting up of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Hassan, the home district of the Gowda family. ...
|After Kerala, Karnataka too seeks IIT|
|Our Bureau / Bangalore August 16, 2006|
"The Centre has proposed to set up six new IITs in various parts of the country. Bangalore is home to several prestigious educational and research institutes. We have written to the Centre to set up an IIT in Karnataka," chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said here after a review meeting of higher education today.
Bangalore already has several reputed national institutes like Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Statistical Institute, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, National Law School of India University, National Dairy Research Institute and Indian Institute of Information Technology.
"The city is known as a knowledge centre. For long, we have felt the need for an IIT. It is for the Union human resources development ministry to select the location. I hope the Centre will respond in a positive manner," he added.
The government has decided to upgrade all district hospitals to 1,000 bed capacity through public private partnership (PPP) programmes. "At present, many of the hospitals have varied in-patient treatment capacity. Upgrading them to the level of 1,000-bed capacity will enable the government to start medical colleges at district level," he said.
Kumaraswamy said a new medical college will be set up on Magadi Road in Bangalore with an estimated investment of Rs 100 crore in 2007. The Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), the nodal agency that monitors medical colleges in Karnataka, will have a new campus on Magadi Road spread over 73 acres of land. "The new medical college and the RGUHS will be located in the same campus," he stated.
IMPHAL, Aug 30: The Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur has urged the government of India to establish one IIT and one IIM institutions in the state during the 11th five year plan.
A memorandum in this regard has been submitted to the Prime Minister by the students body which also urged the later for upgradation of RIMS to the level of AIIMS.
Disclosing about the memorandum and its details, DESAM general secretary LC Santosh told mediaperson during a press conference at its head office today that Manipur has enormous human resources and talent, but yet to tapped.
While appreciating government of India`s decision to establish 20 more IITs during the next five year plan, the DESAM leader said Manipur deserved to have one such institutions as the state do not have any institutions which are of national importance.
Establishing one such institutions in the state will definitely boost moral of the students, the DESAM leader said adding it will also draw students from other south Asian countries in pursuit of higher studies.
The students leader also observed that peace will definitely returned in the state once development go in the right path. All the burgeoning problems being faced in Manipur will surely go down in due course if development surges in the interest of the people, the DESAM leader said and maintained the matter has also been apprised to the state Governor and the chief minister.
[ 26 Aug, 2006 0022hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
Bommai, in his letter, to the Prime Minister has stated that during his tenure as an HRD minister in 1996, he had set up a committee headed by scientist U R Rao, which submitted a report in 1998.
The committee after a thorough investigation had and recommended that the IIT be established in Hubli-Dharwad, Bommai has said. It is the best location as it is equidistant from Goa and Maharashtra too, the committee stated.
Over 300 acres of land has already been earmarked for IIT, Bommai said.
"Now it seems your office is planning to locate the IIT near Bangalore which is already congested. It is no more the place of tranquillity which is essential for such centres. I recommend that the IIT be set up in Hubli-Dharwad."