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.
So, we’re all IIT-ians now? - Article by Aditya Jha
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