IITs and IIMs became the target of the latest salvo from Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh when he said the public institutions were bereft of quality faculty. The minister told mediapersons in New Delhi on Monday that the institutions drew their world-class stature from the quality of students who got admitted to them.
An IIT alumni, Ramesh said that the elite schools were excellent on account of the quality of its students and not the quality of research or faculty. “There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs.
The faculty in IIT is not world class. It is the students in IITs who are world class. So the IITs and IIMs are excellent because of the quality of students not because of quality of research or faculty,” Ramesh said.
The minister’s comments comes at a time when the human resource development ministry is grappling with the issue of improving research output and faculty quality of the IITs. Earlier in this month, a HRD ministry appointed committee headed by IIT Bombay chairman and former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar recommended a slew of measures to improve research quality as well as faculty strength and quality in the IITs.
Ramesh’s comment about the state of research in the IITs came in the context of questions about his ministry’s decision to enter into a joint venture with Reliance Industries Limited for setting up the National Centre for Marine Biodiversity in Jamnagar.
Ramesh defended his decision to reach out to a corporate entity saying that a world-class research centre cannot be built in a “governmental set-up”. The director of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Samir Barua, partly agreed with Ramesh’s views, but said the faculty was overburdened with teaching work to focus on research.
“There is no doubt that the quantum of research done by the top engineering and management schools in India is not adequate when compared to the best institutions overseas. However, institutes like IIM-A have been dealing with shortage of faculty for quite some time and due to this, research has taken a back-seat, compared to teaching,” Barua said. Economic Times