Institutions of Eminence – Indian Scenario

The Government of India has declared 6 Institutes as Institutions of Eminence for targeting entry into Top 500 University Rankings in the world in the next 10 years. There has been much debate and discussion about Jio Institute being given the tag, as it is yet to start. I feel that it is not just the Jio Institute but few other points that require attention and analysis.

The lack of review of the past

I have read that the Committee to arrive at Institutes of Eminence focused on the future road-map proposed by the Institutions and not the past achievements. It is of course not crying about spilt milk, but I suppose it will be of help to ascertain that even after 70 years of Independence why should we focus on the next 10 years to get entry into Top 500 World Rankings?

Where did we go wrong? Why have we been continuously getting wrong? Even now 1/6th of the world population has no access to even one of the Top 500 World Rankings Institution?

What does Institutions of Eminence gain?

It has been mentioned that Institutions of Eminence will gain autonomy. These institutes will be free to decide on courses, curriculum, fees and students intake. This is apart from the 1000 Crores over the next 5 years for the 3 public Institutes.

Leave the money aside, let us focus on the autonomy part. If even after 70 years of Independence, there is no Indian representation in the Top 500 World Rankings, what good has Government control and oversight served for all these years?

If the Government regulations after so many years have not yielded any results, why not let all Institutes get the freedom? We are anyways nowhere near the top, how bad can it get?

Out of proposed 20, Government could identify only 6

The initial plan for Government was to name 20 Institutions of Eminence, it was brought down to 6.

Well, these Institutes have to target Top 500 World Rankings in next 10 years, and we cannot even come up with 20 candidates. There were 114 applications and the committee could select only 6.

Can it please be made public where the other Institutions got wrong? The students and the citizens have the right to know what is missing in these Institutions. For example, what IIT Chennai and IIT Kanpur cannot do what IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi promised?

There will be reasons floated around of impropriety for making this information public. We know that we are nowhere near the Top 500 World Rankings and we would like to keep our secrets to ourselves.

Not even a single University in the list

India has 800 + Universities and not even one could make it to the list.

I wonder what is being taught, who is teaching, who is learning and what’s the end result in these Universities?

Can we have a debate on why so many inferior, not even mediocre, Institutions continue to function? For whom? For what purpose?

Life beyond JEE

All the 3 public Institutes require JEE for their admissions (IISc also accepts NEET and KVPY). The message given to the students and the society at large is that unless you crack JEE, there is no way forward in reaching up to global standards, at least in the public Institutes of Eminence.

Life beyond Engineering

Actually, the message is not limited to JEE. The message is that Government has limited its thinking, planning and execution to Engineering alone.

The 2 IITs, IISc, BITS do not look beyond Engineering courses. They do have Humanities and Social Sciences Departments, but I suppose all of us know what these Institutes focus on.

If one has to study Law, Commerce, Languages, Social Sciences, Liberal Arts, Medicine whatsoever, Indian Institutes are not up to the mark. The Government thinks that none can come close to the Top 500 World Rankings in the next 10 years in these disciplines (barring the exception of Manipal, who has some of these courses and not sure of what Jio will have to offer).

For the second part, click here.

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