Orissa, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (Indore) will be the next states to get freshly minted IITs. Take a look (see also the update below):
... [The government] on Friday decided to establish four new IITs and six IIMs in various states besides upgrading some of the state universities to the status of Central Universities.
While the new IITs would be located in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh (Indore), Gujarat and Punjab, the IIMs would come up in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh (Raipur), Uttarakhand and Haryana.
It would be so much better to create large, "real universities" with a mandate to do research and teach (graduate as well as undergraduate) courses. Engineering, management, law, medicine can be built into these universities in various combinations with natural and social sciences, arts, humanities and languages. Such an environment is particularly important for undergraduate students, a vast majority of whom currently languish in affiliated colleges with poor facilities and non-researchers, or study in elite, but specialized institutions (IITs, NITs, AIIMS, NLSUI, etc).
It's not clear why the government keeps choosing IITs and IIMs, when it can make a much bigger difference in people's lives -- and for the country as a whole -- with real universities.
I don't know about you, I see this news as yet another lost opportunity.
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Update: The official press release (thanks to an e-mail alert from Yogesh Upadhyaya) has a lot more information about the new institutions that are to be set up during the 11th plan. It turns out that 14 'world-class' Central Universities are being planned in the following states:
- Pune, Maharashtra
- Kolkata, West Bengal
- Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
- Mysore, Karnataka
- Vishakapatanam, Andhra Pradesh
- Gandhinagar, Gujarat
- Jaipur, Rajasthan
- Patna, Bihar
- Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
- Kochi, Kerala
- Amritsar, Punjab
- Bhubaneshwar, Orissa
- Greater NOIDA, Uttar Padesh
- Guwahati, North Eastern Region
Further, 16 more Central Universities will be set up in those states that do not currently have one.
Thus, it would appear that I spoke a little too soon. While I welcome the setting up of a large number of universities, I have a grouse against those as well! Currently, our Central Universities do not do any undergraduate teaching -- the lone, honorable exception being the Banaras Hindu University, which has UG programs in many, many disciplines. Thus, I will wait until I have a better idea about the kind of institutions that are actually set up, before I start celebrating ...
[Interestingly, the official press release says that BHU's Institute of Technology (which is also where I studied) will be converted into an IIT. Its path to IIT-hood has been quite tortuous -- so tortuous, in fact, that I will believe it only when the deed is done. ]