Monday, July 16, 2007

'IIT model ought to be replicated'

The credit for the excellence of IITs should go to the system underlying it. This system has two pillars — complete autonomy, and relatively generous funding.

Let us take the funding first. For about 5,000 students and 400 teachers, IIT Madras gets nearly Rs. 100 crore per annum. Even if put together, all universities in Tamil Nadu or in Bihar, with several times more students and teachers, get less.

Besides, IITs earn through consultancy and receive donations from their alumni. They also attract international funding. IIT Madras may not be rolling in money, but it can meet its needs and some fancies. Its faculty may not be getting salaries as in Massachusetts, Singapore, Tokyo or Toronto, but their working environment and the autonomy they enjoy make those salaries a less important factor in career choice. For conferences and researches, they can go abroad. They can buy a book or a laptop.

The other pillar of the IIT system is its autonomy. Reporting to the President of India, Visitor or Chancellor to all IITs, IITs have managed to escape politicians. Ministers have tried to interfere, but the Presidents have used their position and the trust reposed in them to save this their sacred charge. The IITs, therefore, work unhindered; and so do all their departments, laboratories, hostels, libraries, every unit and individual running them. They know their rights and duties, privileges and responsibilities, and enjoy those privileges and discharge those responsibilities without fear or favour.

That's from this Open Page article in the HIndu by Shreesh Chaudhary, a professor in IIT-M's Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.


  1. Ankur said...

    and i am asking you why waste 100 * 7 = 700cr... for somebody who will just migrate abroad the day he graduates...
    just increase the fees and pay for the expenses.. and used the 700cr hence saved in increasing primary education.. i think the country will be much better of spending 700cr on primary education then on spending a few thousand students who never care about their country

  2. Pratik . said...

    Is migrating abroad a phenomenon restricted to IITians these days? During my recent trip around US, I met a horde of my classmates - from schhol days - none of whom are IITians. Point is, most people like to go where the moolah is. Till mid 90s, the bulk of opportunities came by way of the IITians. These days, its anyone and everyone who makes a beeline for jobs abroad.

    As for spending on primary education, well, I couldnt agree more with you.

  3. Anonymous said...

    (i) Not all students go abroad. A significant number of IIT students do in fact stay in India. For example, many of them are hired by IT companies in India. I'll try getting and posting statistics from a reputable source to back my claim.

    (ii) Also, I'd like to add that even if the IIT students stay back in India, there's no guarentee that they'll "help the country"

    After all, was the infrastructure (technology,equipment,capital)or opportunity available 30 years ago in our country to achieve what many IITians achieved abroad?

    If the aim of the IIT's are to be a center of excellence, then I think they should be well funded and completely autonomous.

    IMO, fixing the mess that's Indian primary education is another issue. Adding 700 crores to the existing budget of 7000 crores isn't going to improve the wages, attendance rate, quality of education, sufficiently in my opinion.