The government seems to be in a great hurry to get the six new IIMs and five new IITs announced in the budget up and running.

As per the communication sent by the HRD ministry to the governments of the 10 states where the proposed IIMs and IITs would come up, admissions are set to start from the 2015-16 academic session. These 10 states are Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha, Bihar and Maharashtra.

The six Indian Institutes of Management will come up in Punjab, HP, Odisha, Bihar, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Chhattisgarh, Jammu, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Kerala will house the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology.

The plan is that the nearest older IIMs and IITs will mentor and manage the new institutes till their directors are appointed which will take up to six months. For example, IIM Calcutta will mentor the proposed B-school in Odisha.

The mentor institutes will house the new ones in temporary facilities till permanent campuses are set up. In case no temporary campus is available then the mentor institute will host the new one on its campus.

Students will be admitted to the new IIMs through the CAT exam to be held in 2014 which will be coordinated by IIM Indore later this year. Each new IIM will offer 50 seats in postgraduate programmes and the 13 IIMs now have around 4,000 PGP seats in all. Along with the new IIMs 4300 seats would be offered to the meritorious students.

The HRD ministry has asked for a detailed project suggesting the focus areas for the new institutes from the public-sector undertaking Education Consultancy India. The ministry has also written to all the concerned states asking each to provide 200 acres free for the IIMs and 500 acres for the IITs.  Two sites near Amritsar have been proposed by the Punjab government.

The Institute of Technology Act will also have to be amended to include the new IITs under the law. Currently, the 16 IITs offer 10,000 seats for engineering students. With the five new IITs coming up, this number could go up to 10,500 next year.

A few academicians cautioned against opening these new institutions in a hurry without proper infrastructure and faculty. Former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Professor P.M. Bhargava, said improving school education should rather be the government’s focus. “I have travelled in some 60 countries and looked at their education system. I am yet to see a country in the world where the school education system is in dumps but their higher education system is commendable.”

Another point of contention was that over 90 per cent of graduates in science and management are unemployable which can be attributed to the weak foundation of the teachers. Bhargava questioned, “Where would the government get really qualified professors for the new IITs and the IIMs?”

M. Anandkrishnan, Chairman at IIT Kanpur, supported the government’s initiative. He added that lack of adequate infrastructure and faculty could not deter the starting of new institutes. These new institutes would grow with time.

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