Mediocre Politicians and Bureaucrats Cannot Digest Independent ExcellenceSince the government and its departments wallow in mediocrity, politicians and bureaucrats are unable to digest anything that becomes a centre of excellence in India. There can be no other reason for the last minute insertion of the ill-advised sections 35 and 36(1) in the draft IIM Bill, 2015. There had been a wide agreement between the HRD ministry and top executives from the IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s before the Bill was drafted. But unable to digest total lack of control over institutions that were proving day in and day out that it was possible to achieve world class excellence in India independently, the government stealthily inserted the two sections before putting up the bill for wider consultation.
By Sunil Garodia
By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2015-09-24 17:55:29
The IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s are a few remaining centres of excellence in the field of education in India that are functioning with clockwork efficiency. Past experience has shown that whenever the government tries to interfere in the working of such institutions, under any guise like providing funds for expansion or otherwise, it brings them down to the level of its own mediocre departments. Hence, it should be no oneÃ¢â¬â¢s case to disturb the status quo, at least in the case of IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s.
However, there is also a pressing need to provide world class management education to our youngsters. More than 1.7 lakh students appeared for the Common Admission Test (CAT), conducted by the IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s, for the 3700 seats on offer. The demand-supply mismatch, even after so many years, is disheartening for the students. Their next best alternative is either foreign education (not possible for a majority) or mediocre education in dubious institutes that have come up in every by lane in every Indian city. But it is wrong to expand capacity by gaining control and it is to be resisted by all right thinking individuals. The government should work on a four-pronged strategy Ã¢â¬" ask existing IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s to increase their intake of students (which is meagre compared to international business schools of equal or better standards) , allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India, set up new IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s (without government control, of course) and encourage quality private institutes, with support of industry and merchant chambers, by reducing red tape for the same.
Government control over admissions, fee structure and appointment of faculty is a sure recipe for disaster. No institution can focus on providing quality education and research if its top management has to face political and bureaucratic meddling in its affairs. Instead of learning about emerging administrative structures from the IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s and implementing them in its moribund departments, the government, ill-advised by a jealous bureaucracy, seeks to impose outdated structures on the IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s.
There has however been a rethink by the government and it has now agreed to dilute the Bill to remove these sections. While this is welcome, the IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s will have to be vigilant against any backdoor attempts to gain control. In the whole episode, the governmentÃ¢â¬â¢s tactic to divide the IIMÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬" the upcoming oneÃ¢â¬â¢s supported the controversial sections because they were dependent on government funds Ã¢â¬" shows the HRD ministry in very poor light.