HRD Minister Kapil Sibal met IIM directors yesterday, and has announced a bunch of initiatives he claims will give more autonomy to these premier B-schools. A new, Pan-IIM 'collegium,' which will choose IIMs' Board members as well as their directors, is being projected by both the minister and the IIM directors as an important part of the package.
Most of what has been reported is from what the participants have said; but the devil is in the details, and they are usually found in some document. So, let's wait for a document to emerge; the wait may not be long, since the IIMs have been given three months to prepare a 5-year plan.
In the meantime, here are the news reports:
Charu Sudan Kasturi, in The Telegraph, cuts to the chase right in his opening paragraph:
The Centre will stop directly appointing members of IIM governing boards, creating a selection mechanism that may grant the institutes greater autonomy from the government but could curb their independence from each other. [Bold emphasis added].
Pallavi Singh, in Mint, gets Bhargava to say that the proposed 'collegium' doesn't look all that different from the pan-IIM board recommended by a committee headed by him:
“A collegium sounds very similar (to a pan-IIM board) to me. The purpose of the board was also to help in running the IIMs and the constitution of the collegium is also the same as proposed by our panel. It’s a good decision in the sense that at least there will be a collegium now,’’ Bhargava said.
In a news report before the meeting, director of IIM-B, Prof. Pankaj Chandra was quoted as saying this:
"The more important issue is the government's inability to make the IITs and IIMs truly world-class institutions and to let go of control," said Pankaj Chandra, Director, IIM Bangalore.
"Look at the way governments in other countries support and enable their government institutions. The government of Singapore has made NUS (National University of Singapore) fantastic, and the Chinese government has enabled Beijing University and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Should Indian government not do the same for its institutions?" asked Chandra, a PhD from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who taught for 10 years at IIM Ahmedabad (IIM-A) before moving to IIM-B.
"Once the budget for the IIMs is decided, all decisions should be left to the Board of Governors. The selection of the director was done by the respective Boards before M.M. Joshi (former HRD Minister) brought it under the preview of the ministry," said Chandra.