By proposing dozens more of IITs, the government misses the value of excellence
IITs are in trouble. The human resource development ministry has initiated a brilliant pincer movement that first seeks to control and then to destroy them. If reports are to be believed, and given the kite flying taking place at the HRD ministry I will reserve my judgment till it actually happens, India will have at least 19 Indian Institutes of Technology pretty soon and maybe 30 within the next few years.
An IIT-ian friend of mine once went out for an arranged date with an air hostess in Hong Kong. As the music changed gears, the air hostess kept asking him to dance with her and my friend kept declining with a polite, “I can’t do the twist/disco/cha-cha-cha.” Finally, the air hostess lost her cool and is reported to have demanded, “What? You can’t even do the Can-Can? What can you do?”
To which, the proud IIT-ian responded, “I can do second order partial differential equations; can you?”
Brand IIT is not about IITs; it’s about IIT-ians. And, mostly, it is about undergraduate IIT-ians at that. People who have done M-Tech from IITs always feel discriminated against. Since they never cracked the JEE, there’s no way they will be accepted into the tribe.
Someday, the government will realise that it makes more sense to concentrate on primary education and to get out of higher education. Someday, it will disband the UGC and allow private players into higher education with no strings attached. Someday, there will be an engineering college that will challenge the existing IITs. Someday, the private colleges will use technology to deliver learning 2.0 to students. Someday, private engineering colleges will emerge, with entrance exams, personality tests and learning methodologies that will leave the IITs behind. And the challengers will arise. And the IITs will have to learn to compete.
This is TI’s first partnership with an IIT on research projects devoted to medical electronics innovation. The project is a part of TI’s recent announcement to spend $15 million towards funding research work in the field of medical technology.
According to Ajoy Kumar Ray, head of school of medical science and technology at IIT-KGP, “In India alone, about 800,000 patients undergo coronary bypass surgery every year, while one in every 12 women develops breast cancer. Also, oral leukoplakia and oral sub-mucous fibrosis have been widely prevalent in India and are a cause of concern to scientists in the country. The TI-IT KGP technology partnership will enable devices that could help address some of these pressing healthcare issues.”
When the reticent IIT-Kharagpur alumnus joined Tata Motors nine years ago as executive director, few would have predicted that one day he would become instrumental in clinching the biggest automobile acquisition by an Indian company.
At the time of going to press, Kant, the man Ratan Tata trusted to win the ownership of these auto jewels, is leading the final leg of negotiations that has lasted for almost eight months. “It’s almost done; the deal value is around $2.6 billion (Rs 11,000 crore),” said a senior Tata executive who is part of the negotiating team currently in London.
Despite repeated attempts, Kant was unavailable for comments. “I cannot disclose details connected with the deal,” Debasis Ray Tata Motors spokesperson told the Hindustan Times.
The Tatas have been negotiating terms and conditions of 18 agreements, not usually part of buyouts. It is Kant’s experience in global acquisitions that has proved handy. In 2004, Kant brought Tata Motors to the global platform by acquiring the ailing Daewoo Commercial Vehicles.