Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ethiopia in talks with IIM-B for doctoral programme tie-up

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, is in advanced talks with the Ethiopian government for sending its students to IIM-B to undertake the Fellow Programme in Management (FPM). If fructified, this could bring an international composition of around 8-10 students from Ethiopia into the upcoming academic session in June-July 2010.

Fee for the Ethiopian participants could be around $15,000 for the first two years and $4,000 for the subsequent years. Indian FPM participants do not pay tuition and hostel rent and are in fact paid a stipend and contingency support by the institute. Surplus revenues from executive education are used to pay these stipends. No financial support is available for Non-resident Indians and foreign applicants, though. No foreign nationals are taking up this programme at the institute currently. The minister of state for education from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia visited IIM-B early this year to discuss his government's interest in collaboration with IIM-B.

Under the guidelines being discussed, the Ethiopian government would forward applications of prospective doctoral applicants to IIM-B, which would in turn scrutinise them and select the candidates for the programme. Gopal Naik, chairperson of FPM at IIM-B said, “We are focused on creating a strong doctoral programme as it substantially strengthens the research activities of the institute. Higher the number of candidates, better is the impact as well as allocation of resources,” he said. “We admitted 28 doctoral students this year (2009-10) and our plans are to have 150 students at the institute at any time,” Pankaj Chandra, Director, IIM-B had said at the institute’s convocation recently.
To attract quality Indian candidates, the institute has increased the monthly stipend from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 24,000 for five years. The maximum duration allowed to complete the course is seven years. Additionally, a one-time grant of Rs. 50,000 a year is provided to cover incidental expenses such as purchase of software and hardware, books, among others. The institute also supports international travel of students to present papers in reputed professional conferences.

The popularity of the programme in India can be guaged by the fact that the number of applications received have gone up from 272 in 2007 to 486 in 2009. Nearly 650 applications have been received for the upcoming academic session of which the institute is likely to admit 30 students. The institute offers specialisation in disciplines like corporate strategy and policy, economics and social sciences, finance & control, marketing, organisational behaviour & human resource management, among others.

Source: Business Standard, April 12, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

India, Oz sign major deal to expand education partnership

Stating that they are at an "exciting time" in their ties, India and Australia today signed a major education deal to take their relationship forward after a series of vicious attacks on Indian students, including the murder of a 21-year-old youth. The deal was signed as Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal met Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard here, their second meeting in six months. Under the deal, the two sides agreed to set up a joint education council and to extend exchanges in the field of education.

"India and Australia are at an exciting time in their relationship, a Joint Ministerial Statement said, saying that people-to-people contacts are at the heart of the bilateral relationship. Students studying in both countries play an important role in building bridges of friendship and understanding and are a significant resource for future development of the relationship," the statement said.

Sibal and Gillard, who is also Australia's education minister said their governments attached high priority to the safety and well being of students as they played an important role in the knowledge partnership envisaged between the two countries. "The fact that I am here suggests we want to take the relationship forward, it does not mean that we are not concerned about what's happening here," Sibal told reporters. An India-Australia Education Council comprising experts from both sides will be formed and a joint ministerial statement has been signed to expand the education exchange programme.

Over 100 cases of attacks on Indians were reported last year in Australia, including the murder of 21-year-old Nitin Garg, straining ties between the two countries. They also led to the Indian government issuing a travel advisory asking students to exercise caution while in Australia, and were followed by a flurry of high-profile visits by Australian dignitaries, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to India. On the issue of the travel advisory, Sibal said: "The advisory obviously was given at a point in time when the incidents were at a height... students are still coming to Australia, we have not prevented them".

Sibal and Gillard were meeting after six months and the former said he believed the attacks on Indians had declined. "I think the Australian government is taking strong steps in that direction to prevent those things happening," Sibal said.

Source: The Economic Times, April 9, 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

Indians applying for US colleges rise after big dip

After a decline, applications from Indian students to universities in the United States for graduate studies have stabilised, according to a new report. India, China and South Korea are the three largest countries of origin for international graduate students in the US, the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) said in the report. "Applications from India and South Korea appear to have stabilised after significant declines last year. There was a 2 per cent decline from India and no change from South Korea this year," the report said. "The continued recovery in international graduate applications has been a positive trend," CGS President Debra W Stewart said. "However, we must not be overconfident. The lack of growth from India and South Korea is an ongoing concern, and as we saw in 2009, an increase in applications does not necessarily result in equivalent enrollment growth," she said.

Overall, CGS found that the number of applications from prospective international students to US graduate schools in 2010 increased for the fifth consecutive year. The seven per cent growth is the largest since a nine per cent gain in 2007. "The initial snapshot of graduate applications for the fall 2010 semester, released on Wednesday, shows a fifth successive year of double-digit growth in applications from China, up 19 per cent, after a 14 per cent gain in 2009," the report said.

Applications increased in the three most popular fields for international students: engineering, physical and earth sciences, and business, which collectively enroll 62 per cent of all international graduate students. In addition to the growth in China, applications from prospective graduate students from the West Asia and Turkey also rose by double-digits for the fifth consecutive year, by 18 per cent.

Source: Financial Chronicle, April 8, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Faculty woes for higher education fledglings

New institutes of higher education across the country are running without permanent faculty a year after some of them were set up, while their foster-parent institutes are facing a pressure-cooker-like situation with student intake growing by the year and supply of qualified teachers being way below demand. Besides the seven established Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the country has eight new ones, and apart from the seven Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), two will start this year and four will come up in the next academic year. The new institutes are currently functioning with faculty from parent institutes.

IIT Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, for instance, does not have a single permanent faculty member for its 100 students, a year after it has been functioning on its mentor IIT Roorkee’s campus. Recruitment is on, and 15-20 permanent faculty members may be on board by June 2010, says professor SP Gupta, convenor of IIT Mandi. The institute plans to admit around 125 students this year, and plans to move to its own campus in July 2010. On the other hand, IIT Jodhpur, which has been operating out of the campus of its mentor IIT Kanpur since 2008, will be moving to its temporary campus in May. Besides its regular B. Tech. programme, it is planning to start a Ph.D. programme for 50 students this year.

The faculty position at the two new IIMs — IIM Rohtak and IIM Ranchi — is not encouraging either. Both the institutes will start admitting students this academic year, but are yet to recruit faculties. “We have issued advertisements, and hope to get some good people in two months,” says BB Chakraborty, IIM Calcutta professor and IIM Ranchi convenor. The scene is no different at IIM Rohtak. “As of now, it does not have permanent faculty; not even a director,” says an official from IIM Lucknow. The institute will start its first post-graduate programme in general management with 60 students this year, and IIM Lucknow is the mentor.

The idea of mentor institutes providing faculty support to the new ones, besides administration, is putting a strain on their existing resources, says Prof. S.K. Suresh, Dean, Faculty Affairs at IIT Bombay. “But the established IITs see the need to mentor the new IITs in their early years,” he adds. Besides, existing IITs and IIMs are themselves in need of academic staff. IIT Bombay, for instance, has 660 positions of which 488 are filled as on date. IIM Lucknow too, is looking to increase its permanent faculty position to 100 over the next two years from the current 75, says Prof. Singh.

The need is felt across disciplines too. “We need teachers for finance, operations management and any subject which has a good demand,” says Prof. Chakraborty of IIM Calcutta. The shortage is primarily because the rate at which the institutes are expanding is not matched by the number of Ph.D.s coming out of universities. Also, with the implementation of quota up to 50% in institutes of higher learning, the total number of seats has almost risen substantially.

The shortage of faculty is felt more by institutes that are opening in far-flung areas of the country which lack corporate activity. IIM Kozhikode, for instance, found it difficult to get industry leaders on campus due to the lack of connectivity. “We had to lobby to get a direct flight from Delhi to Kozhikode, and had the Chennai-Kozhikode flight restored recently,” says Debashis Chatterjee, Director, IIM Kozhikode. IIM Lucknow had to create another campus in Noida to be closer to Delhi. “Links with industry are very important for faculty,” says Devi Singh, Director, IIM Lucknow.

A task force headed by IIT Kanpur Director SK Dhande is currently looking into the faculty shortage. But the committee hopes to submit its recommendations between September and December this year. In the meantime, both existing and new IIMs and IITs will have to deal with more students in the coming academic year, which will only add to the pressure on limited resources.

Source: The Economic Times, April 5, 2010

Monday, April 05, 2010

ISB signs MOU with MIT Sloan

The Indian School of Business (ISB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the MIT Sloan School of Management to develop two new institutes at ISB’s upcoming campus at Mohali. The proposed institutes are: The BML Munjal Institute of Manufacturing Excellence and Innovation and the Punj Llyod Institute of Physical Infrastructure Management. After the MoU was signed by ISB Dean Ajit Rangnekar and David Schmittlein, John C Head III, Dean of MIT Sloan, HRD minister Kapil Sibal said that this collaboration has a unique business model which aims to improve innovation, especially in the wake of collapsing past and uncertain future.

On the proposed Foreign Education Bill, Sibal clarified the foreign universities would not get any special preference in India. “We want to give them national treatment. They should have stake in the system. We don’t want fly-by-night institutions. We want them to invest in India.” The entry of foreign universities in India would help in building faculty and innovation. He said the proposed legislation would improve the overall quality of education in the country.

ISB Chairman Rajat Gupta also emphasised that the institution is not afraid of any kind of competition if the Bill is implemented in its total form. The association with MIT Sloan, which has legendary expertise in the area of manufacturing and infrastructure management, would help to build collaborative research programmes. “This is a first of its collaboration wherein ISB, a signature in innovation, would bring in lot of capabilities for joint research programs,’’ he added.

Rangnekar said that MIT Sloan will support ISB in developing the two institutes at Mohali and will involve in providing a faculty support and curriculum design in the areas of manufacturing, operations and management of large infrastructure; assisting faculty recruitment for ISB; providing teaching opportunity for MIT faculty at both Hyderabad and Mohali campus; joint executive education programmes; and facilitating a joint action learning projects for the students.

Source: The Financial Express, April 4, 2010

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