The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have to emerge as institutions of global excellence to take India forward to the next generation of technology leadership of the world. This was stated by Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of HRD, Communications and IT, while addressing the meeting of the IIT Council today in the precincts of IIT Delhi. The meeting was attended by Members of Parliament, Ms Vasanthi Stanley, Shri Janardhana Swamy and Shri Depender Hooda, Chairpersons and Directors of all IITs besides other scientists and technologists of eminence nominated on the Council.
A presentation was made by Dr Anil Kakodkar and Prof Jhunjunwala on the recommendations of the Committee to prepare a roadmap for taking IITs to global excellence. After detailed deliberations on the recommendations in which various opinions were expressed, the Council decided to constitute an Empowered Task Force for implementation of the recommendations for enhancing the autonomy of the IIT system with the intention of expanding the research output of IITs to produce 10,000 Ph.D graduates annually from around 1000 presently and increase faculty strength from around 4000 presently to 16000 by 2020. This would enable a large pool of researchers in technology to be fostered along with developing advanced technology manpower needs for promoting economic growth. The Council felt that a national benefit has to be derived from the investment through public funds on each IIT student. Therefore, every student at the time of obtaining employment after graduation could enter into an agreement with the IIT for agreeing to pay back part of the expenditure made on him or her over a suitable period. Students who do not obtain any employment or who proceed for a career in research shall not be expected to arrive at such agreement. In so far as modifications to the governance structure are concerned, the Council felt that the issue would be revisited in the next meeting. Each IIT was requested to prepare an accountability mechanism for regulating the exercise of administrative autonomy.
The Council deliberated on the report of Dr Ramasami for a country-wide common examination for admission to undergraduate programmes in sciences and engineering. The Council noted that the burden of multiplicity of competitive examinations was causing immense stress, both financial and otherwise, on parents and students at the time of admission at the UG level. The basis for reform in the examination process that reduces dependency on coaching, aligning the testing process to Class XII syllabus, reducing the multiplicity of tests to one was considered. Weightage would be given to the marks obtained by a student in Class XII Board examinations would be given after scientific statistical normalization of the performance vis-à-vis the average performance of other students appearing in the respective Board examinations, whether CBSE or State Boards. There could be a single national examination to test for aptitude and advanced domain knowledge or for aptitude alone to supplement the weightage given to performance in Class XII. Six options were placed before the Council for consideration and views of the members were sought. Based on the views expressed, the report would be finalised by Dr Ramasami in a month. The report would also be placed before CABE and State Education Ministers for a final decision so that the new system could be put in place by academic session 2013-14.
The Council took note of the incidents of suicides for varying reasons in IITs. While appreciative of the action being taken by IITs, the Council felt that the issue needs to be studied in all its dimensions. The Council decided to constitute a Task Force to suggest remedial measures after studying the causes of such occurrences. The Task Force shall be headed by an eminent person and include representatives of parents, teachers, alumni, professional counselors and submit its report in four months.
The Council ratified the proposal of IIT Delhi to establish an extension centre in the NCR region of Haryana on land offered by the State Government. This would help IIT Delhi in expansion of research facilities considering the limitation of space at its present location. The Council was also of the view that IITs need to extend their outreach through collaboration with industry, society and academia going beyond present geographical boundaries. The IITs should also serve the technological needs of the local area as well as assist engineering institutions in the area through faculty development.
A presentation was made by Director IIT Kanpur, Prof Sanjay Dhande, on a common web-portal (www.iitsystem.ac.in) for all IITs which could serve as a one-stop information source on all IITs necessitated due to the rapid expansion of the IIT system growing to 15 institutions in the Eleventh Plan. Information on admission guidelines, faculty availability and vacancies and other details would be provided through the web portal. It was suggested by the Council that the web portal could emerge as a window for engagement with industry and academia within the country and abroad with the entire IIT system.
Source: Press Information Bureau
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