At the Pan IIT Conference that concluded on Sunday,bigwigs of the Indian Institutes of Technology were unanimous on improving their brand value and quality. But there was one among them who sought drastic reforms and a change in the governance system of Indias premier technology colleges B Muthuraman,Chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT Kharagpur.
Muthuraman made two critical observations. First,he felt the IIT Board of Governors were becoming redundant with no more than a two-way conversation between the IIT Director and the Chairman alone. Second,he said it was high time New Delhi stopped interfering in the IITs even though it was the funding agency.
Calling for separation of teaching and administration,Muthuraman said while there had been sweeping changes in the last 50 years,there was no change in the way the IITs were being governed.
This is untenable…will crack. The IITs are bursting at their seams and some fundamental changes are needed, Muthuraman said during a plenary session on The IIT system-Vision and Emerging Challenges.
Muthuraman said making the IIT Director in charge of everything from teaching to the IIT real estate,hospitals and IIT marketing was like asking an outstanding surgeon to run a hospital.
He said the negative effects were being seen at IITs already,with a definite erosion in quality of students being churned out of the institutes visible to recruiters.
Terming the current system of Board of Governors at IITs an ineffective one,Muthuraman pointed out that the board had no real powers at all.
He said the was a need to switch to a 12-15 member Board of Governors with representatives from alumni,industry,academics from other institutes and make it an effective administrative body.
Muthuraman said decisions were not taken at the Board,teachers were unavailable for students and the IIT infrastructure was bursting at its seams.
Other panelists consisting of IIT Directors and Chairmen of IIT Board of Governors said the institutes needed to actively pursue research,make a mark on international academic rating charts,rejig their governance structures and focus on quality to retain their brand equity.