Thursday, December 28, 2006

Will the West Bengal government let BESU become an IIEST?

BESU is the Bengal Engineering and Science University, in whose earlier avatar it was called the Bengal Engineering College (Shibpur). Sometime ago, our Ministry of Human Resource Development identified it as one of the several colleges to be upgraded to an Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST). This move is generally seen as a positive thing because, the upgradation also comes with several carrots: designation as an Institution of National Importance (!), one time funding to improve the infrastructure and an enhanced level of funding forever.

What's the catch? INIs have a governance structure that gives the institutions a lot more autonomy. Second, because they are INIs, their outlook must be truly national; this implies that the state they are located in loses out in terms of the number of its students who can study there. State governments -- such as those of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh -- were quite unhappy with these provisions.

Well, do read Anasuya Basu's opinion piece in the Telegraph for the details of how the West Bengal government is coming in the way of BESU's blossoming into an Institution of National Importance.


  1. Yogesh K. Upadhyaya said...


    West Bengal govt. had indicated right from the beginning that they will not give up control over its (BEC & JU ) colleges. Moreover (like Kerala govt.), it fears that state students will lose admission due to national level exam.

    However, the fact is that only colleges funded and controlled by central govt. and admitting students on a national basis, are able to achieve international recognition.

    Moreover,the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal are not interested in IIEST now, since they all will get new IITs in one way or another.

    IIEST will be a good thing for IT-BHU, as it will at least provide the much needed autonomy for the college. The govt. funding of Rs. 300 crores (for upgrading a college to IIEST) is much less than Rs. 3,000 crores for a brand new IIT, as both are expected to admit the same number of students (800 for undergraduates and 200 for postgrad/PhDs).

    Anyhow, the IIEST issue is in cold storage, as after the retirement of HRD Secretary for Higher Education, Mr. Sudeep Banerjee on Oct. 31, no one is taking any interest in the subject.


    Yogesh K. Upadhyaya
    New Jersey