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‘IIMs Need To Double Their Intake’

Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of State for Human Resource Development (Higher Education), in conversation with BW Businessworld, says the student intake at IIMs is much lower as compared to those at leading B-schools like Harvard Business School and Wharton School of Business

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Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of State for Human Resource Development (Higher Education), in conversation with BW Businessworld’s Suman K. Jha, says the student intake at IIMs is much lower as compared to those at leading B-schools like Harvard Business School and Wharton School of Business. And feels that the IIMs “need to double their capacity”. Edited excerpts:

Don’t you think creating a large number of IIMs would affect their brand equity?
During an interaction of the HRD minister with chairpersons and directors of IIMs recently, the institutes were in agreement that there was a need to expand and increase their intake of student both at the postgraduate programme (PGP) and Fellow Programme of Management (FPM) levels, and double the capacity from around 9,700 currently to 20,000. This expansion would create a vibrant environment for growth of these premier institutions. At present, the student intake and strength at the IIMs are much lower than premier business schools like Harvard Business School, Wharton School of Business, or INSEAD.

Six new IIMs started functioning from the 2015-16 academic session and one started from 2016-17. At present, there are 20 IIMs in the country.

Why don’t the IIMs have the freedom to appoint directors? The IIMs complain that the government interference is too much. What is happening on the IIM Bill?
The process for framing the Cabinet Note on the IIM Bill is underway. These matters are under consideration of the government.

Many B-schools complain about the regulatory authority and its propensity to interfere in the schools’ functioning. Do you think there’s a need to overhaul AICTE?
A review of AICTE has already been undertaken and some steps taken based on the review. The AICTE review committee was constituted under the chairmanship of M.K. Kaw, retried secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development. The objective was to conduct a review of the present status of AICTE and suggest its restructuring for attaining better performance.

The committee submitted its report, and recommended, among other things, that AICTE should be converted into a constitutional autonomous apex authority. It was recommended that it may function as a facilitating, mentoring agency rather than a regulatory body. The focus was on shift to research, innovation, business startups and patenting. It was emphasised that the norms shall measure outcomes rather being obsessed with physical inputs.

It was also agreed that AICTE should improve the functioning of sub-standard technical institutions with the help of senior faculty drawn from higher technical institutions.

Among other recommendations, it was said that:

* There should be a provision for undergraduate students to undergo internship on the job training with industry.
* The National Board of Accreditation should be the umbrella authority charged with the power to recognise accreditation agencies.
* There should be a National Testing Service, which conducts a joint entrance examination for engineering courses and a common admission test for management courses. Exit tests like GATE shall also be made universal.
* AICTE should have its permanent establishment of manpower and experienced persons from industry should be taken on deputation.
* Affiliation should be phased out within a decade and AICTE should regulate, mentor and develop technical institutions.
* Distance and life-long education should be promoted with the help of information technology such as MOOCs and other emerging blended learning practices.
* Technical and Vocational education should be dovetailed into one another by a liberal regime of transfer of credits between institutions.
* MHRD should enhance the plan allocations of funds to AICTE.

The goal of AICTE should be to establish India as a technical education superpower over the next decade.

The recommendations of the AICTE Review Committee have been discussed. Some of the recommendations of the review committee have been implemented based on the opinions of experts and the public, like:

*The ministry has launched the National Institutional Ranking Framework to empower a larger number of institutions to participates in the global ranking and create a significant impact nationally and internationally. This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.

* In case of vocational education, all the technical institutions have seen active participation in adopting the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), which allows transfer of credit between institutions/universities.

* The ministry is formulating SWAYAM — a platform for delivering high quality MOOC courses, free of cost, covering all subjects from school to the higher education level, including technical education.

The PMO wants to create 20 world-class institutions. It wants accreditation to be done by international agencies. The MHRD thinks the IITs and IIMs should do this. Why?
There is no dispute with the PMO. The objective is to ensure accreditation services in a time-bound manner to higher education institutions eligible for accreditation.

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