Institutions of Eminence – Indian Scenario II

This is the second part of Institutions of Eminence – Indian Scenario. For the first part, click here.

IITs are world-class Institutions

I have always read and heard that IITs are world-class Institutes and IIT graduates dominate the world. So, when I got to know that IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay will take 10 years to break into Top 500 World Rankings, I am unable to comprehend what I was being fed till now.

What differentiates IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay and IIT Palakkad, IIT Dharwad?

All IITs give admissions basis JEE. All IITs teach engineering courses and refer same textbooks. Of course, faculty and infrastructure vary. However, if the oldest IITs are going to take 10 more years to break into the Top 500 World Rankings, why cannot IIT Palakkad and IIT Dharwad do it? If it is just about autonomy and 1000 Cr, why not give it to IIT Palakkad and IIT Dharwad?

If it is about alumni and academic lineage for the older IITs that matters, then why consider Jio in the first place? It has none.

Jio can achieve in 10 years that Government has not achieved in 70 years

On one hand, the Committee that has picked Institutes of Eminence says that to get entry into the Top 500 World Rankings is a time-consuming process. It takes years to achieve excellence. Hence, it is understandable why Indian Institutions do not feature there. On the other hand, it picks up Jio and accepts that Mukesh Ambani can do in 10 years what Government has not been able to do in 70 years.

I am completely missing the paradox. If anyways Jio has to make the cut, why not Azim Premji University, Ashoka University, Krea University, Bharti University? What sets Jio apart?

How Indian Institutions can actually become world-class:

First and foremost, the current admissions procedure in undergraduate courses needs to be scrapped. The current methodology focuses on treating a student as a mere cut-off mark of the entrance test. Till the time, students’ intellectual imagination and application, the strength of character, their ability to exercise good judgment and contribute to society as a whole are considered as a critical factor in the admission process, none of the Indian Institutes is going to go anywhere.

Excellence is not just achieved through JEE, NEET, CAT, GATE, MAT, CLAT, Civils scores but also through extra-curricular activities and personal qualities. It is not just what the student achieves inside the classroom that matters but also what the student engages in outside the classroom.

Unfortunately, the Indian educational system treats the student as a commodity of cut-off marks. The Indian student is a by-product of a dysfunctional school system and parasitic coaching industry. This is anyways what the Indian society demands out of education – a job and nothing else. When the foundation is non-existential, the results are bound to be in line with the same.

If we want Indian Institutes in the Top 500 World Rankings, we need to be clear about what we want from our students and the education system. With the current status, even after 10 years, we will be where we are today. Maybe even behind.

PS:

I checked Times Higher Education (THE) rankings. IISc is ranked in the bracket of 251-300, IIT Bombay in 351-400, IIT Delhi in 501-600, BITS Pilani in 801-1000. Manipal is 1001+.

As per QS rankings, IIT Bombay is ranked 162, IISc is 170, IIT Delhi is 172. Manipal is in the bracket of 751-800, BITS Pilani in 801-1000.

They, of course, do not have rankings for Institutes that have not started – Jio.

If the 3 public Institutes are within the Top 500 World Rankings, the stated objective of the entire exercise; what purpose does the exercise or the objectives serve? It needs to be recalibrated, unless the Government wants to market, at a later date, on how it got these 3 public Institutes in the Top 500 World Ranking when they have actually already achieved this.

Or is it that somebody forgot to tell Prakash Javadekar – Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development and N. Gopalaswami – Chairman of the Committee, what the current rankings are for these Institutions of Eminence?

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