Opposing what is being seen as a move by the government to make IITs and IIMs self-financing institutions, Bharat Ratna awardee scientist C N R Rao on Sunday said the government should provide funding to IITs instead of asking them to “take care of themselves”. He also said that while the government was an “enabling agency”, it should not “run” an institution and provide autonomy to the heads of the institution.
Rao was speaking at the 47th convocation ceremony of IIT Delhi.
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“The government should not forsake IITs; they should never forget this is their prized brand. Unless we support IITs properly, I see no future for Indian science and technology. They should give better funding, so that it is enough to maintain the quality of education,” said Rao.
“They should not say – IIT you take care of yourself. Take care of what? You’ll have to sell all things you have and make money,” he added.
Giving the example of universities in the US, Rao said, “Private doesn’t mean good, public doesn’t mean bad there. Here, we should realise that government has to fund. It is their responsibility to make sure that quality of IITs is maintained.”
Speaking about the autonomy of institutions, Rao said, “Our Director, Chairman. must have much more freedom and autonomy. I don’t think government can run good institutions; government can only be enabling agencies.” He also added that governments shouldn’t keep changing policies, and gave the example of doubling intake saying that the government should “realise the effort required to give the same quality of education if students are doubled, let alone improving the quality of education.”
Giving the example of synthetic biology, in which, he said, IITs were lagging behind, Rao said, “IITs need to transform. The world of science is changing, the world of engineering is changing, the world itself is changing. There are many new areas of science and engineering where IITs have to become experts.