Friday, October 23, 2009

Initiatives from the IIT Council meeting -- Some clarifications ...

In this post (which was based on news reports on HRD Minister Kapil Sibal's version of the deliberations of the IIT Council meeting) , I had asked folks from IITs to tell us if they "had any inkling at all about" the kinds of initiatives announced that day. While the HRD Minister himself has clarified that JEE reforms were entirely up to the IITs, we have some clarifications on some of the other issues -- thanks to Prof. Gautam Barua (who left a comment) and to a friend (who e-mailed me).


Here is Barua's comment (with just a bit of formatting added by me):

Please note the following:

  1. As per the Act and the Statutes, the Senate of an IIT handles academic matters. The same Act states that the Council will "advise on matters relating to the duration of courses, the degrees and other academic distinctions to be conferred by the Institutes, admission standards, and other academic matters".

  2. So, if the Council forms a committee to look at the PG programmes (and not UG, and not curriculum as wrongly reported), what is wrong?

  3. A Committe formed by the IITs is considering the JEE reforms issue. There was no decision in the Council meeting yesterday. What the Minister stated is the general principle, and ONE possible way of handling things. See what ignorant reporters have done with it.

  4. A Committee headed by Dr. Kakodkar will also look into autonomy issues that are in front of the IITs. These were discussed in the meeting and the committee will examine all issues. There is hope that changes will be brought about in the way IITs and the Govt. interact.

In another comment, he recommends this IE report as "the most accurate on what transpired in the IIT Council meeting."

An IIT friend responded by e-mail:

The reform in JEE they talked about was in the pipeline for few years now. [...] Its just the media savvy minister who used the opportunity to grad some attention.

Also regarding the research orientation in line with the country's needs, it was also in pipe line. [It was brought up in a convocation address by a high level technology manager in the country].

So in conclusion, we knew it was all coming and is in line with we were expecting.