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IIT directors reject Kakodkar model for financial autonomy

Kakodkar panel had recommended major changes to extend greater financial autonomy to IITs.

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi |
September 14, 2013 2:22:27 am

Disagreeing with nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar’s recommendations to reduce the IITs’ dependence on the government for funding — aimed at ushering in greater financial autonomy to these institutes — IIT directors have told the HRD ministry that such a model will “strongly constrain the future growth of the IITs”.

Arguing that IITs are not just teaching institutes,IIT directors have suggested that the institutes continue to be funded considerably and in fact be treated as “strategic assets of the nation”. To be taken up at the IIT council meeting slated for September 16,this view of IIT directors on the Kakodakar Committee’s recommendations on governance,autonomy and finances says that “the proposed model is not consistent with the funding pattern of any reputed public research university”. “If IITs are to become institutes with an international profile,the expenses are likely to increase significantly compared to the current amounts and this must come from the Government rather than student fees and overheads”,the IITs have said.

The Kakodkar Committee had recommended major changes to extend greater financial autonomy to IITs. It’s recommendations were taken up at the IIT council meeting held in January this year but IIT directors had sought time to form a view on the same.

“It may be noted that no reputed public research university in the world is financially self-sustaining and in most cases the universities are considerably subsidised by public funds … IITs cannot progress without such government support. It is suggested that IITs may be treated as strategic assets of the nation,rather than just teaching institutes,since the institutes do much more than education,” reads the IIT directors’ note on the matter.

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Citing the example of other Asian varsities like the National University of Singapore and Beijing’s Tsinghua University wherein public funding has helped improve quality,the IIT directors have further pushed for their old proposal to fund an IIT’s operational expenses based on a Block Grant Scheme with the amount commensurate with the number of students enrolled per institute.

While the directors agreed that “gradual raising of fees” will help reduce non-planned expenditure of the government,they also point out that with operational expenses increasing substantially due to the renewed focus on research and outreach in IITs,it was not advisable that these “be passed on to students as fees”.

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