Monday, May 30, 2005

Pankaj Jalote on the future of IITs

Pankaj Jalote, a prefessor of computer science at IIT-Kanpur, has a nice article in the 'learning curve' section of today's Economic Times on What does the future hold for the IITs?. We have had an occasion to refer to another very good article by Jalote.

He considers several possibilities for the evolution of IITs (a) more of the same, (b) Caltech model (focused, small, research university), (c) Georgia Tech or MIT model (large -- 10,000 to 20,000 students! -- tech-oriented university, with a strong and large research base) and (d) large, general purpose -- may we say, real? -- university, a la Berkeley, Purdue, UIUC. He gives nice arguments for and against each option, but it is clear that he likes options (c) and (d), in that order. There is still the question of how these two options may be funded (he gives a figure of 1000 crore -- 10 billion -- rupees, and more). Jalote also presents a tantalizing possibility that each IIT may be allowed to choose its own course of action.

All in all, a satisfying article. Let me end with a quote from the final paragraph:

IITs are at a threshold today, they have had an excellent first innings, but there is no clarity on the purpose of the second. A clear future vision needs to be defined for these institutes of national importance, such that they, along with the government, can work in a defined direction for their next innings.


  1. Unknown said...

    I think Pankaj has an excellent point, especially about expanding the scope of our technical education. However, I think the price tag should have been presented in terms of the smaller annual outlay, and not the total cost. Excellent article, thanks.