Wrong for UGC to interfere, says author of IIT reforms roadmap

A committee was constituted to “recommend autonomy measures to facilitate IITs to scale greater heights”.

Written by Ruhi Tewari | New Delhi | Published:August 25, 2014 4:14 am
Anil Kakodkar. ( Source: Express photo ) Anil Kakodkar, noted nuclear scientest. ( Source: Express photo )

Following the University Grants Commission’s communique to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) asking them to “align their courses and degrees with the ones recognised by the UGC”, members of the Anil Kakodkar committee that was set up to recommend autonomy measures for IITs have hit out at the UGC, demanding that the premier institutes be “left alone”.

“IITs are governed by an Act of Parliament. The intention was to give maximum autonomy to them. The IITs are the best educational institutes in the country at this point and they should just be left alone. It is entirely up to them to decide how they want to move forward. They are completely out of the ambit of the UGC and what is happening now isn’t right,” Anil Kakodkar, noted nuclear scientist who headed the committee, told The Indian Express.

The 11-member Kakodkar committee was constituted by the Union HRD Ministry in 2010 to “recommend autonomy measures to facilitate IITs to scale greater heights”.

“At that point, the committee’s main objective was to see how the autonomy of IITs can be enhanced. The sense of the committee was that IITs have complete academic autonomy. But what is happening now seems to be a counter-indication which we didn’t see then. To use a saying, why fix what isn’t broken,” Kakodkar said.

In its report, speaking of a strategy to take IITs to “greater level of excellence and relevance”, the Kakodkar committee had said, “Managing such a transition would naturally require complete autonomy so that IITs can adopt innovative and flexible management approaches to move forward on a promising new idea in a selective manner.”

The report said, “Towards enhancing autonomy that would provide the IITs the necessary flexibility to support and deal with a new idea or take a new initiative and lead them towards world-class excellence, it is proposed that each institute be fully governed by its Board of Governors (BoG), including aspects like financial planning and expenditure rules, faculty remuneration, fees and number of faculty and staff, within the overall policy guidelines of the IIT Council in terms of expectations from IITs as world-class institutions, affirmative actions, technology directions and human resource development.”

Another committee member, T V Mohandas Pai, also lashed out at the UGC for attempting to interfere with the functioning of IITs. “The UGC should just keep off IITs as well as other top 15 per cent of the higher educational institutes in the country. The track record of the UGC is hardly great, it isn’t as if it has the brightest minds to be able to tell others what to do. The IITs have done very well left to themselves, their management has been great. The IITs have to be left alone for them to develop and compete globally,” he said.

“What is happening now is perverse. It is time we stand up to such regulatory overreach and ensure full autonomy for the top 15 per cent of higher education institutes in the country. The UGC should only focus on state universities of low quality and help develop them,” said Pai.

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  1. A
    Sep 3, 2014 at 3:38 pm
    I agree with CNR Rao's opinion! But it is not confined to IITs alone. How many engineers of today's India are actually working as engineers after they graduate? Irrespective of which branch of engineering they study in, they go to write software programs or do MBA and sell soaps! If you search you will find global scientists from IIT, IISc but then we can also find same from other smaller insutions/universities too. Coming to DRDO, BARC and ISRO go and check how their recruitment is done and how the work culture there is! With such shady recruitment process and bad work culture no one can guarantee efficiency! DRDO is the worst of all, it gets most funding but delivers almost nothing! ISRO is best among Indian scientific organizations and BARC is important because it produces people to operate nuclear power plants.
  2. A
    Sep 1, 2014 at 9:42 am
    IITs have produced some world cl scientists too. But they flourished in US as Indian science is deep rooted in ugly politics and did not allow them to perform at home!
  3. A
    Aug 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm
    Then apply a good working rule to all the insutions/universities. IITs are better than Universities so given autonomy to other insutes to make them on par with IITs not the reverse! One should always go towards betterment.
  4. D
    Aug 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm
    No special status for IITs. Same rules for everyone is good for Indian eduction
  5. I
    Aug 25, 2014 at 2:39 am
    Indo-US nuclear deal would not have happened without IITians.
  6. D
    D Raj
    Sep 3, 2014 at 10:52 am
    Please tell us who those alumni are and their contributions so that we too know of them. You dont need to defend blindly; compile for yourself first the list of people and the advancement of technology/science they ushered in for the world or atleast in our country, or something that is in use now, and then reply.Blaming the politics/system is an easy escape, given how smart they feel about themselves. Given the nerdherd mentality of the IITians, they could have captured the system/insutions and brought forth the much awaited changes. They don't because they never did it anywhere. They could go to places of existing excellence and complain how bad home insutions are, which is easy to do. Where are IIT graduates in DRDO, BARC, ISRO, etc, in whatever little they achieved for the country.Below is the opinion of Prof. CNR Rao about IITs :"...the graduates of IITs have contributed very little to India... with all due respect... they sell soap make money. they are all after money, banking. 99.9% of the engineers in our atomic commissions are from ordinary colleges, not from the IITs. .. they are the ones who built our reactors, they are the ones who built our space program... so the ordinary Indian is an extraordinary Indian..."(at 23:54 into the video):www.youtube/watch?v...
  7. D
    D Raj
    Aug 31, 2014 at 12:35 pm
    What has the IITs produced in all these years anyways? They are good to supply skilled koolies for Pepsi, Cola, Mc Kinsey, J P Morgan, etc.? Did they ever produce any useful technology in theory or practice that has worldwide recognition. Much worse they produced nothing useful for India atleast. So, no need for a special status.
  8. T
    Sep 24, 2014 at 2:16 am
    These comments are stemming from the jealousy. Fact is that IITians have been dominating all aspects of public life in the country. Start-ups like flipkart, snapdeal, micromax and many others have all been started by IITians. Most of the companies in Gurgaon and Bangalore have IITians at their top positions. 90% students at IIMs are from IITs. If u have any general knowledge u may be pleased to knw that our current and former RBI directors have also been IITians. So don't make ty comments when u dnt knw facts.
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