The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have decided to increase the number of students by 60 percent, in an aim to improve their global ranking.
The IITs, consisting of 16 prestigious engineering colleges which have produced several first-class professionals in the likes of Reserve Bank of India chief Raghuram Rajan (IIT-Delhi), had recently scored a dismal result in the world universities ranking.
According to the highly valued Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) world leading universities ranking, IITs failed to make it to the top 200 list. On the Asia's top 200 ranking, there were only three IIT colleges in the top 50, with IIT-Delhi at 38, IIT-Bombay at 39 and IIT-Madras at 49.
The 16 colleges, located at Delhi, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jodhpur, Kanpur, Mandi, Mumbai, Patna, Ropar, and Varanasi, are all administered by the IIT Council but each institute is an autonomous institution.
IIT Needs to Build Brand, Restructure Curriculum and Improve Ranking
The IIT council, which consists of all directors including the Human Resource Development (HRD) minister, decided that the institutes would not be reviewed by the National Accreditation Board (NAB). Also, in an attempt to restructure and strengthen the functioning of the institutes the directors of the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education decided not be a part of the panel that appoints any of the IIT directors.
"The council decided that since IITs are brands, their internal review will be given to NAB and it will be accepted as accreditation. NAB won't be able to send its team to assess the IITs," MM Pallam Raju, the HRD minister, said.
India needs NAB's recognition to be part of the Washington Accord which will aid Indian student to join foreign institutes, besides making Indian engineering degrees equivalent to foreign university degrees. This is also believed to help improve the curriculum.
An IIT-Delhi alumni, Parth Nyati who is currently working with Swastika Investmart said that except for some departments like computer science which is well-equipped and has a good curriculum, other departments need to restructure their curriculum.
"Like mechanical, civil, chemical or textile departments don't change their curriculum to make it more and more interactive. There is less orientation of students towards research. (Nowadays) everybody wants a high paying job; consulting, banking, finance - most sought after professions so restructuring is important," said Nyati.
The HRD minister admitted that IITs have not really concentrated on brand-building and marketing needs, and hence need to "device a way" to improve their brand quality.
The council said that increase in the number of students would first start in the seven older institutes at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Guwahati and Roorkee. The average increase in the number of students in various streams will rise from 7,500 per institute to about 12,000.
The decision to Increase the number of seats, which has brought cheers to IIT aspirants across the country, will also help in improving the institutes' earnings. However, the Council has decided not to increase the fees of its programs.