Sunday, October 31, 2010

IPL re-incarnated at ISB-Hyderabad

Conceptualised on the lines of IPL, Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad, is all set to introduce the maiden edition of ISBs Super League (ISL), which may prove to be another exciting sporting extravaganza.

As in IPL, ISL has sporting franchises (or teams) that are owned, managed and staffed by students of the ISB student community. ISB's Super League (ISL) was inaugurated on November 20, 2010, presided over by Ajit Rangnekar and India's leading sports personality Pullela Gopichand.

ISL has sporting franchises that are owned, managed and staffed by students of the ISB student community. This is a franchise model, where each franchise built its own team through player auction. The four teams --- Hyderabad Hurricanes, The Titans, Hyderabad Nizams, and Raging Bulls were won in an auction based on real money --- where students bid for teams. Each player was sold in a live auction based on virtual currency. The total bid value for the four teams came to Rs. 630,000. The winning team will take home 60 per cent of the prize money, which has been accrued from the bids. The runners up will get 34 per cent of the prize money. The balance six per cent will go towards organizing the tournament which will go on till the end of December.

This innovative idea was the brainchild of Mohit Mittal, student director of the Graduate Students Board. Siddharth Malhotra, student director, marketing and communications shares, "This is more like a relationship and sporting franchise model within the ISB."

The ISL aims to provide the ISB community and its sponsoring partners an opportunity to be involved in fun, sports and above all, the true ISB spirit of excellence. Student owners would gain real expertise in sports management, a great opportunity to network with fellow students, faculty and alumni and a live experience in brand building and promotions. Also this initiative along with giving structure to sporting activities on campus will provide the opportunity to gain complete sports management experience, team building, and better networking within the whole ISB community.

With more than 570 students, 3000 plus alumni, staff and spouses all involved in this exercise, the ISB is going to witness an action packed three months of sporting events. Teams will vie with each other in nine sports to win the coveted Best Franchise trophy, along with whopping cash prizes. This is to be witnessed first hand.

Source: The Economic Times, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

MHRD, Health Ministry spar over common medical / engineering test

The Ministry of Health on Friday attempted to put a spanner in the proposal of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) through the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to hold a single examination for Class XII passouts for medical and engineering colleges at the all-India level by integrating AIPMT and AIEEE.

While All India Pre-Medical / Pre-Dental Entrance Examination (AIPMT) is conducted to fill 15% seats in MBBS/BDS courses in government medical and dental colleges against the all-India quota, the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) is for drawing up a combined merit list for different categories of engineering colleges. CBSE conducts both AIPMT and AIEEE every year.

Senior advocate Altaf Ahmed appeared to convince a bench comprising Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik about the noble intentions behind the move, that is to relieve the students from appearing in multiple entrance examinations, but the health ministry's counsel, Aman Ahluwalia, attempted to shoot it down saying it would create confusion.

Ahluwalia said that there were several students who take mathematics and biology in addition to the common subjects of physics and chemistry entitling them to compete for both medical and engineering streams. Hence, there could be a situation where a student might figure in the merit lists for both medical and engineering and could take one of the seats in either of them waiting for a better option in another thus depriving other deserving candidates.

Ahmed listed out the benefits of amalgamation of AIPMT and AIEEE candidates will be less stressed as selection would be based on common test tools and they will be able to appear in medical as well as engineering entrance examination in one go; parents too will be less stressed and less financially burdened; emphasis would shift to classroom teaching than coaching. But, when Ahluwalia insisted a combined entrance examination could result in lateral overlapping in the merit lists, the bench wondered whether the objection was genuine.

Source: The Times of India, October 30, 2010

President inaugurates PanIIT 2010 conclave

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Friday inaugurated the PanIIT 2010 conclave, with alumni from all the Indian Institutes of Technology converging for a three-day networking and brainstorming session.

PanIIT is an umbrella organization covering alumni of all Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Over the years, these conferences have become one of the leading technology summits for business leaders. This year the PanIIT 2010 Global Conference focuses on good governance, knowledge based economy, entrepreneurial, innovative, equivalent and happy society. This year's conclave coincides with the golden jubilee year of IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur.

Speaking to delegates through a video message, President Patil said, "The theme of your conclave, Sustainable Transformation: Our New India, is very relevant to the changes taking place around us. I am happy to know that you are going to deliver it on the need for better quality of life in the society, environment sustainability and to the imperative of developing low carbon technologies," she added.

There are currently 15 IITs in the country, with nine new ones being added over the last two years. The eight new IITs have been started in Ropar (2008), Bhubaneswar (2008), Gandhinagar (2008), Hyderabad (2008), Patna (2008), Jodhpur (2008), Mandi (2009) and Indore (2009). Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU) is also to be upgraded as an Indian Institute of Technology.

"Government is undertaking various schemes and initiatives which should lead to the creation of a new India. Your expertise and deliberations at this conclave can help chart out ways in which capacity building and delivery mechanisms in many of these initiatives can be implemented," said the President.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Need to deregulate education, says Chairman of National Knowledge Commission

National Knowledge Commission (NKC) Chairman Sam Pitroda on Thursday stressed the need to deregulate education, calling it the need of the hour. "We don't need central or state control on universities and colleges. Today the challenge is to deregulate education," Pitroda said, addressing a conclave organized by the Indian Institute of Technology alumni group PanIIT.

"That's what we did to economy in 1991. That is what we need to do to education in 2011," he stressed. Pitroda also emphasized that there was need to urgently pass the educational reform bills, expressing dissatisfaction over the fact that they have been delayed. "There is no sense of urgency over passing the education reform bills, many of them have not even been tabled yet," he said.

Many new bills, including the much debated National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill have been drafted on the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission and the Yashpal Committee. However, they have not been tabled in parliament yet. "We have had debates and discussions, but no action. It's time for government to act," he said.

At least nine new bills have been drafted by the human resource development ministry. Of these, the Foreign Education Providers Bill, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, the Educational Tribunals Bill and the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, have been introduced in parliament. These have been sent to parliamentary standing committees, and are likely to be taken up during the winter session.

"Education is the only area we have not focused on economy of scope. We have to create an atmosphere where even a plumber can think of going for a Ph.D. in Mathematics," he said. Speaking on the occasion, Secretary for Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Vibha Puri Das stressed on increasing the gross enrollment ratio (GER) to 30 per cent by the end of this decade.
The GER, representing the percentage of students enrolled for higher education, is presently at 12.5 per cent. "We are giving right to education to students... higher education should be made available to them," she said.

Yale to bring global best practices here

Yale University on Thursday signed an agreement with two of India’s leading institutions, the Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode (IIM-K) and the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K), to develop training programmes that will create academic leadership here. The programmes will be aimed at vice chancellors, deans and heads of various educational institutes, and will be facilitated through the setting up of Centres of Excellence for Academic Leadership (CEALs).

A series of workshops and training programmes will kickoff from January 2011, the funds for which will be channelled from the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative which has a corpus of US$ 10 million in combined funding . The initiative was launched in November 2009 to create better ties between universities in India and the U.S.

Yale University will help shape the curriculum for the training, besides providing technical and research support, and even staff. As per the agreement, the implementation of activities and the newer areas of collaboration will be decided by a management committee comprising two members representing each partner. "Education is becoming more globalised every day. Local universities need to be exposed to global best practices to grow," said George Joseph, Assistant Secretary, Yale University. The Ivy League university has already been conducting similar programmes for academia in China.

"Indian business has gone abroad but Indian business education hasn’t," said Debashis Chatterjee, Director, IIM-K . "This is our chance to benchmark it. We will organise leadership programmes for vice chancellors, directors, deans and future academic leaders, to train them on managing educational institutions, generating funds for them and creating non-profit academic entities that are, nevertheless, economically viable."

According to Sanjay Dhande, Director, IIT-K, "The academic system in the country is expanding, and we need quality leadership to give it direction." He added that the programme is aimed to assist in grooming India’s academia to take on bigger roles."

Source: The Economic Times, October 29, 2010

Pre-placement offers double across IIMs

The good times have returned at the country’s premier management institutes as the economy gets in shape. Pre-placement offers (PPOs) for students of Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have increased by 25% to 100% over the same period last year, when the economy was in the grip of a slowdown. Companies make PPOs to students who intern with them in summer. With corporate earnings improving and recruitments picking up, the feel-good factor has spilled over to campuses.

IIM-Calcutta (IIM-C) students have received over 65 PPOs and 30 pre-placement interviews, four months before final placements. Last year, the PPO tally was 41. "A lot of firms are yet to announce PPOs, and we expect the numbers to go up. So far, the scenario looks very good," said IIM-C's External Relations Secretary Samyukktha Thirumeni. She expects the numbers to cross the pre-slowdown days, when the PPO tally was 90-plus. Over 17% of the batch of 385 students has already received preplacement offers. The story is the same at other IIM campuses. Up to 20% of the batch at IIM-Bangalore (IIM-B) has received PPOs, says IIM-B's Head of Placement Sapna Agarwal. "It shows the companies' readiness to make commitments," she adds.

Offers, which include lucrative international positions, are coming in from financial and consulting companies as well as FMCG, marketing, general management and IT firms. Consulting firms and i-banks have predominantly offered of PPOs at IIMA. "Several marketing and general management firms such as Hindustan Unilever, Tata Administrative Services and Aditya Birla Group have also offered PPOs," says Mansi Chitalia, Member, Student Placement Committee.

While a large number of profiles remain the same, a few top management roles too have been offered to students. Dilip Krishnan of IIM-C, for instance, has been offered a position of marketing head of five countries (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand) after his internship with the Florida-based Outback Steakhouse that operates restaurant chains in 22 countries.

Winny Patro, also from IIM-C, has been offered a PPO for the position of vice-president of Market Insight Consultants, a market research based consultancy in India. "Students have also received offers from firms in diverse industries such as niche consulting and media. Many companies are looking to meet a large part of their recruitment needs through the PPO route," says Chitalia.

At IIM-C, consulting companies have the highest conversion ratio, with close to 90% of the interns receiving PPOs so far. "Finance and marketing firms have also offered many more PPOs compared to last year, with this change being most remarkable in the finance firms," says Thirumeni.

IIM-Lucknow (IIM-L) students have already received over 43 PPOs, compared with 30 last year. "We expect many more in the coming months," says Chairman - Placements R.L. Raina. The companies leading the pack include McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, Hindustan Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Aditya Birla Group, Diageo and Goldman Sachs.

IIM-Kozhikode (IIM-K) students have received over eight PPOs and 26 PPIs compared with 13 PPOs and 9 PPIs last year, says Students' Placement Committee Member Chirantan Shah. Financial institutions and FMCG companies have offered most of the PPOs, he adds.

Source: The Economic Times, October 29, 2010

India to help upgrade Jaffna University

Sri Lanka has sought Indian assistance to upgrade the engineering department of the Jaffna University in the north of the island to speed up the specialised skill development of people --- mainly Tamils --- living there. The department, badly in need of a fresh injection of teaching talent and tools, due to years of civil war that raged in the island's north and east, is to be eventually be "developed into a full-fledged engineering college," Indian government officials said.

The proposal is part of a programme of the Sri Lankan government to develop the Jaffna peninsula. It was one of the main theatres of conflict at the height of the island's bloody civil war between the minority Tamils and majority Sinhalese. The second largest city after Colombo, Jaffna is regarded the cultural capital of the Tamils, before fighting escalated in the early 1980s.

India's assistance to help modernise the education facilities in the island's north and the east was discussed during the visits of Sri Lanka's minister of higher education S.B. Dissanayake and foreign minister G.L. Peiris to New Delhi recently. Among the proposals explored were getting prominent Indian professors and lecturers to teach at Sri Lankan universities, a senior government official said.

"Under the proposal, we will also help groom the engineering teachers of Jaffna University. Faculty and student exchange are also part of the plan. India will help upgrade their laboratories and most likely provide high-end equipment to the university for its engineering institute," a human resource development ministry official said, confirming the development.

As has already been announced, India is also helping Sri Lanka become a "trilingual society" with the minority Tamils learning to speak Sinhalese and the majority Sinhalese speakers learning Tamil --- with both groups learning English as well. "The aim is to ensure respect for both languages so that the two ethnic groups understand each other. It will help better integration and unity in society," said the government official cited above, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "A team of officials from the human resources development ministry will be travelling to Sri Lanka soon to flesh out this idea," he said.

Friction over language --- especially Tamils having to learn Sinhalese to get government jobs --- was one of the triggers of the civil war. Sri Lanka has said the rehabilitation of Tamil civilians displaced by the civil war is a priority for the government. According to foreign minister Peiris, the number of those living in relief camps at present is below 20,000, down from the almost 300,000 living there about 15 months ago.

India, whose 62 million Tamils share close cultural links with Sri Lanka's minority community, is keen to see the war-displaced resettled quickly. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which administers Tamil Nadu with the support of the Congress party, has been pressuring the government to lean on Sri Lanka to complete the rehabilitation of some 30,000 Tamils still living in camps and devolve more political power to them. India has already committed Rs. 1,000 crore (Rs. 10 billion) for the displaced civilians and will build 50,000 houses in the war-ravaged north of the island. Foreign minister S.M. Krishna is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in November to take stock of the rehabilitation process and the utilization of Indian funds meant for the displaced.

Source: Mint, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

MHRD Consultative Committee discusses AICTE Reforms

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has introduced e-governance for transaction of all its business including online submission of applications-for transparency and clarity, easier & assured communication and fast processing of applications. This was stated by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal while addressing the Members of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of HRD.

The subject of the meeting was "Reforms in All India Council for Technical Education". A presentation on the reforms initiated in the AICTE was also made in the meeting. The presentation outlined the following regarding the reforms.

Organisational reforms: To strengthen the organization and enhance the functioning and performance of the Council, the following measures and practices have been adopted:

• Improvement in security measures
• Introduction of e-governance system for transparency
• Website is being modified to make it more user friendly
• Office manuals for adopting procedures have been drafted
• Induction training/orientation programmes for incumbents are being drafted
• Proper records management, retention/weeding is being carried out
• Personnel are appointed on deputation basis
• Execution of work order for construction of permanent building at JNU
• Council approval for setting internal audit cell for finance as well as performance audit
• Council is also exploring the possibility of digitization of records

Online submission of applications all year round: The process for the approval of cases electronically started for the year 2010-11 from January 10, 2010. It provided facility for tracking of applications by applicants and emphasizes on self declarations by Institutions rather than inspections.

New Institutes/Integrated Campus: New Institutes can now start with enhanced intake capacity for more economic viability. Engineering/Technical institutes can seek an intake of 300 instead of 240. Similarly MCA / MBA / PGDM / Pharmacy / Art & Craft can seek intake of 120 instead of 60 and Architecture & Town Planning 80 instead of 40.

Norms for Land Requirement: Land requirement for engineering institutions in mega cities reduced from 3 to 2.5 acres and in metro cities from 5 to 4 acres.

It was also stated that the Council has so far accorded approval to more than 7000 Institutions to impart technical education to around 2.0 million students in the country.

Subsequent to the presentation, Members of Parliament expressed their views/concerns regarding the AICTE. Most of the MPs emphasized that while increasing the number of colleges/seats, quality of education must be a prime concern. Some MPs expressed their concern regarding corruption/malpractices reported about educational institutions. Some MPs raised concerns about the efficacy of the e-governance system and that glitches and delays had come to light regarding it. One MP questioned the reason for according the e-governance contract to a private party rather than NIC.

Some MPs talked about the revised land requirement norms, one MP was of the view that much larger land area must be mandated for educational institutions while one MP wanted uniform 2.5 acres irrespective of urban or rural areas and one MP wanted separate norms for hilly areas. An MP stated that the teaching of ethics, nationalism and of the Liberal Arts is also required in engineering education. One MP stated that the qualification for entering polytechnics be increased to plus two rather than the current class X. One MP expressed reservations regarding a common engineering entrance test for the whole country considering the disparities in the country.

Replying to the concerns of the MPs, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal at first stated that the subject of the next Consultative Committee could also be AICTE reforms, considering the deep interest in the matter. Regarding the concerns raised by MPs on quality and regarding reports of corruption in technical institutes, he stated that the proposed Prohibition of Educational Malpractices Bill and The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority Bill, seek to address the issues of corruption and quality respectively. He sought support from the MPs present for these Bills.

Regarding the concerns about e-governance, the Minister said that on the whole, the new system has found support and approval. He agreed that some problems/delays in its implementation had been experienced, but most of these problems could be attributed to engineering institutes not having computers of the quality that could upload the data as required and delays happened due to the time taken by the institutes to upgrade the computers. Regarding the project being undertaken by private sector parties instead of NIC, the Minister stated that he had been given to understand that NIC was not able to provide the solutions required for the Project.

Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India, October 28, 2010

Yale University signs MoU with IIT-Kanpur and IIM-Kozhikode

Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode (IIM-K), Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) and Yale University, U.S. have entered into a partnership to advance higher education in India through academic leadership development programmes for higher education leaders in India and through research on Indian higher education.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between Dr. Richard Levin, President of Yale University, Dr. Debashis Chatterjee, Director of IIM-K, and Dr. Sanjay Dhande, Director of IIT-K in the presence of Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Kapil Sibal and Minister of State for HRD D. Purandeswari.

Speaking on the occasion, Kapil Sibal said that this partnership, which will take effect from January 2011, will be sited in two new Centers of Excellence for Academic Leadership (CEAL) to be established at IIM-K and IIT-K. "The partnership will begin with a term of five years, and could be renewed thereafter," he added. He also said that a six member committee with equal participation from the three partnering institutes will determine the norms/qualifications for participating in these leadership programmes.

The flagship programme of the partnership will be a new "India-Yale University Leadership Programme," to be developed by Yale University in consultation with IIM-K and IIT-K, that will expose university and academic leaders in India at the levels of vice-chancellor, director, and deans to the best practices of academic administration and institutional management in the United States.

Yale University, IIM-K, and IIT-K would also engage in joint faculty research on higher education and collaborate to organize workshops and seminars on relevant areas of academic administration and leadership. The first programmes under the agreement would take place in 2011 in New Haven, Connecticut.

Yale President Richard Levin stated, "Yale is pleased to undertake this important and much needed effort on higher education with IIM-Kozhikode and IIT-Kanpur. We look forward to working with them to advance the cause of higher education in India by sharing what we have learned over three centuries as an institution and we similarly look forward to learning from our partners in India in this age of global education."

Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India, October 28, 2010

IGNOU, UIDAI join hands on Unique Identification Numbers project

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for implementation of the Unique Identification Numbers (UID Numbers) project.

According to the MoU, IGNOU will cooperate and collaborate with the UIDAI in conduction proof of concept (POC) studies; be a pilot to test the working of the technology and process of enrollment into the UID database and subsequently full roll-out of the UID project; be the Registrar for the implementation of the UID project (including POC and pilots) and do all that is necessary and required in order to effectively complete the POCs and pilots; follow the criteria and process for appointment of enrolling agencies prescribed by the UIDAI; and put in place an institutional mechanism to effectively oversee and monitor the implementation of the UID project in general and monitor specifically the enrolling agents appointed.

The MoU was signed by U.S. Tolia, Registrar, IGNOU and Kim Kipgen, ADG, UIDAI, on October 27 in the presence of UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani and Vice Chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai.

The UID numbers will be linked to IGNOU's present and future students data-base so as to provide the facility of 'Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow learning,' said Nilekani, adding that IGNOU will use this platform not just to cover the rural populace, but also to distribute the benefits of education to its learners.

Source: IGNOU

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MHRD & UIDAI join hands for tracking student mobility

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of Mr. Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Human Resource Development and Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI in New Delhi today. Mr. Amit Khare, Joint Secretary in the MHRD signed the MOU on behalf of his Ministry and Mr. Anil Kachi, Deputy Director General signed on behalf of UIDAI.

The proposed MOU would be helpful in tracking student’s mobility by creating an electronic registry of all students, right from primary/elementary level through secondary and higher education, as also between the institutions. Imprinting of UID number on performance record of individual students (marksheets, merit certificates, migration certificates) will also be helpful to prospective employers and educational institutions. UID number will help in tracking problems of fake degrees. UID can also be utilized while dematting of academic certificates as also education loan and scholarship schemes. It would also be useful in the implementation of Mid-Day Meal Scheme.

The MHRD will co-operate and collaborate with the UIDAI in conducting proof of concept (PoC) studies, pilots to test the working of the technology and process of enrolment into the UID database, identify Registrars for the implementation of the UID project (PoC and pilots). The ministry will help ensure that the Registrar shall do all that is necessary to effectively complete the PoCs and pilots; and put in place an institutional mechanism to effectively oversee and monitor the implementation of the UID project and provide logistic and liaison support to the staff and representatives of UIDAI.

The Government has set up the UIDAI for the issuing of UID number to all the residents of India, based on demographic and biometric data of the individual. UIDAI will develop and prescribe standards for recording data fields, data verification and biometric fields, prescribe a process for enrolment of beneficiaries/students to authenticate the identity of a person with a UID number.

Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India, October 27, 2010

DNB degree-holders can now teach medicine

Doctors with a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examinations (DNB) degree can now teach in medical colleges. In a major decision, the Union health ministry has approved the Medical Council of India's (MCI) proposal to allow doctors, who have a DNB degree, to teach just like those with a MD/MS degree.

The move will help in inducting to 3,000 new medical teachers who obtain a DNB degree in 54 subjects. Till date, DNB was never recognized at par with other PG medical degrees like MD/MS. The latest rule will allow those DNB degree-holders, who have been teaching for several years to be automatically recognized as faculty members. Those doctors who pass out with a DNB degree from a medical college will get the same status.

However, DNB degree-holders who have passed out from private or non-MCI recognized medical colleges will have to have experience of an additional year of senior residency in a teaching medical institution to be at par with a qualified MD/MS candidate.

Dr. Gautam Sen, MCI board member, told TOI, "This is primarily because those with MS/MD degree from a medical college have the experience of teaching undergraduate students when they are senior residents. A DNB doctor does not have such a teaching experience." Dr. Devi Shetty, another MCI board member, added that "the new rule would increase India's pool of medical teachers in a big way. The ministry has been wanting to allow DNB doctors to teach. However, earlier the MCI board didn't approve it. DNB doctors can not only start teaching but also perform surgeries soon after passing out," Dr. Shetty told TOI.

Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, President of the National Board of Examinations (NBE), which grants DNB degrees, welcomed the ministry's decision. However, he harbours a few concerns. He told TOI from Boston that while an additional year of senior residency has been recommended for a DNB doctor passing out of a private or non-MCI recognized medical colleges, it is difficult to envisage how medical college hospitals will offer such a limited period of senior residency when they would prefer to select candidates for a full three-year period.

Further, candidates, who have done DNB in super specialities like cardiology or neurosurgery, are unlikely to go in for an additional year of senior residency. With regard to teaching and research experience, Dr. Reddy added that DNB now has a compulsory thesis while DNB training hospitals do not usually provide their candidates with undergraduate teaching experience.

"There are also several medical colleges which don't have UG component such as SGPGI, Lucknow, and PGI, Chandigarh. Therefore, absence of an UG teaching experience should not be a disqualifier," Dr. Reddy said.

Source: The Times of India, October 27, 2010

Education reforms must to build talent faster, says Infosys Chairman

India needs drastic reforms in the education sector to build a vast talent pool for driving the IT industry growth faster, says Infosys Technologies Ltd. Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy. "We require a reforms programme in the education sector similar to the economic reforms in the nineties that ushered in the liberalization era," Murthy said at a conference on 'India: Knowledge and Professional Services Hub to the World', organized by All India Management Association (AIMA).

Asserting that the future of the Indian IT industry was bright as evident from its return to growth path after downturn last year, Murthy said a study by McKinsey estimated that the industry had the potential to generate about US$ 300 billion by 2020 if it could grow at 20 per cent annually or by 2027 growing at 10 per cent per annum. "The challenge to achieve the ambitious target will be our ability to produce a vast pool of talent. The industry will require an additional 6-7 million engineers, which is difficult with the available education infrastructure. It's time for reforms in the education sector," Murthy told about 200 delegates at the day-long conference.

Noting that India was experiencing one of the highest growth in the world, Murthy said the infrastructure sector would face a huge shortage of engineers to build roads, power plants, factories, offices and houses due to constraints in scaling capacity for raising human capital. "In addition to education reforms to churn out more engineers, lawyers, doctors, managers, etc., we need to enhance our basic infrastructure to increase productivity, efficiency and capacity," Murthy pointed out.

Though the IT industry would have incremental opportunities from the state-run enterprises and e-governance in the domestic market and emerging markets, he said a host of divergent sectors such as healthcare, cloud computing and digital economy would enable companies to move the value chain and sustain the double digit growth. "The industry requires global brand equity to enable a chief information officer of an overseas government place a US$ 1 billion order with the Indian company. There should be enough visibility in the global market place to bid for long-term projects and attract local talent for leveraging our domain expertise," Murthy said.

During the past decade, the industry witnessed a robust growth in traditional areas of application development, system integration, package implementation of SAP and Oracle, accounting for 60-70 per cent of revenue generation, while new areas such as remote infrastructure management services, independent validation services, product life cycle development and engineering services have been chipping in the remaining 30 per cent growth.

"If we have to succeed in the digital economy in face of stiff competition, we have to move up the value chain and step into new verticals such as healthcare, legal process outsourcing and knowledge processing services," Murthy added.

Source: The Economic Times, October 27, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

IIMs should evolve like corporate entities

The elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) should function like corporate entities and improve their academic standards to stand up to the competition from foreign business schools that are expected to open branches in India, says a government panel. The committee, headed by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. Chairman R.C. Bhargava, submitted its report last week to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), proposing changes to how IIMs are managed and financed.

The government plans to bring in a law allowing foreign universities to set up branches and issue their own degrees in India. Currently, they have to work with Indian partners and issue Indian degrees. Several varsities, particularly in the U.S., have expressed interest in establishing Indian campuses.

Last week, the HRD ministry had accepted the proposals of another committee, which had suggested that IIMs be given more financial autonomy and be allowed to seek funds from alumni settled around the globe. It had also allowed IIMs to set up branches in India and abroad. The Bhargava committee included directors of IIMs at Kolkata, Bangalore and Kozhikode. "Private investment in management schools is growing rapidly, and the MHRD is keen on attracting foreign direct investment in education, which could include joint ventures. This will pose new challenges to the IIMs," says its report, reviewed by Mint.

The proposals include hiring directors with experience of working abroad, altering their designation and profile, re-structuring the boards of governors and offering incentives to corporate houses in lieu of funds. "The director should be the chief executive officer of the IIM and carry out all the functions entrusted to him by the board (of governors)," says the report.

This would entail giving more administrative and financial powers to the directors. They should be people with the experience of working in different parts of the world, so that the institute can benefit from their global exposure. "It is recommended that his designation be changed to president-cum-dean. Not only would this be in line with the designations prevailing in leading business schools, but would enable the organizational structure to have vice- presidents and vice-deans," says the report. These, it adds, would be better accepted than vice-directors or deputy directors.

All the boards of governors should be dissolved and re-constituted with 14 members instead of the usual 26; a third of the new members should be IIM alumni. Absence from three consecutive meetings without taking leave should automatically curtail membership, the report says. A cadre of managers should be developed to take up administrative work.

Every IIM is registered as a society, whose members are nominated by the government. The panel has suggested that payment of a substantial donation should be the criterion for membership. A corporate house, for instance, can become a member for five years by donating Rs. 20 crore (Rs. 200 million). "This would be equivalent to a person having an equity stake in the company, except that there would be no dividend payout from IIMs," the report says. Members can be offered preference in placement dates and discounts in executive education programmes. Buildings, blocks and facilities can also be named after them. "Autonomy and accountability should go hand in hand," HRD minister Kapil Sibal said last week.

Amitabh Jhingan, partner and national leader of the edu-cation practice at the audit and consulting firm Ernst & Young, said some of the recommendations of the Bhargava committee seem progressive. "I think what the committee is trying to do is benefit the students by collecting donation from society members or giving more time to teaching and research," he said. "I think they are trying to find ways where student fees will not increase."

Academician Yash Pal, however, said IIMs should not behave like corporate entities. "I do agree that (a) lot of consultancy work and executive education takes away the teaching and research time of faculties, which is not good," he said. "But I think IIMs should remain as excellent educational institutes, not corporate or placement agencies. I feel IIMs should get engaged in rural management, agriculture management and even other issues that the country is facing."

Source: Mint, October 18, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tatas gift US$ 50 million to Harvard Business School

India's Tata Group has announced a US$ 50 million (Rs. 2.2 billion) gift to Harvard Business School (HBS), the largest donation from an international donor in the school's history. Besides cementing an already significant relationship between India and the world's premier business school, the grant also sends out a strong message of Indian academic and economic involvement in the U.S. ahead of the visit to India of President Obama, who is also a Harvard (law school) alumnus.

The gift, disclosed in Boston on Thursday by Chairman Ratan Tata, will fund a new academic and residential building on the HBS campus for participants in the School's broad portfolio of Executive Education programs. The School hopes to break ground for the building, which will be named Tata Hall, next spring.

Incidentally, Ratan Tata attended the School's Advanced Management Program -- one of three comprehensive leadership programs offered by HBS Executive Education -- in 1975. He received the School's highest honor, the Alumni Achievement Award, in 1995. On top of this, Harvard Business School's current (and 10th) Dean is Rajasthan-born Nitin Nohria.

Clearly, the gift is not without some political undertones, coming on the eve of the visit to India of President Obama, who has lately railed about the flight of American jobs to India. Boston's Democratic Mayor Thomas Menino, who joined Tata and Dean Nohria for the announcement on the HBS campus, said the Indian company's generosity would have both a local and global impact. "Mr. Tata's gift will create jobs right here in Boston, and the executives who study at HBS will go out into the world as ambassadors of our truly world-class city," he said.

In fact, President Obama himself is expected to stay at the Tata Group's flagship property, the Taj Hotel, site of the deadly 9/11 terrorist strike by Pakistan, during his visit to Mumbai next month, also as a gesture of solidarity with the Indian group which lost several employees in the attack. Ahead of the presidential visit, Larry Summers, one of his key economic advisors, who is also a past president of Harvard University, is already in Mumbai.

All these factors appeared to have played a role in the big Tata gift, although there has been criticism in some quarters regarding Indian business lavishing grants on American schools that are already wealthy beyond compare. Harvard University has an endowment of over US$ 25 billion, the world's largest, and HBS' endowments alone top US$ 2 billion. Last week, India's Mahindra Group announced a US$ 10 million gift to support Harvard's Humanities Center.

But the hoary university, which has many distinguished Indian alumni including two cabinet ministers (P. Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal), and several business leaders (Rahul Bajaj, Y.C. Deveshwar besides Tata and Mahindra among them), evidently has a special place in Indian hearts and minds. "The Harvard Business School is the pre-eminent place to be exposed to the world's best thinking on management and leadership, and we are pleased that this gift will support the School's educational mission to mold the next generation of global business leaders," Ratan Tata said, in explaining the gift.

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria expressed deep appreciation for the Tata Group's "extraordinary generosity" saying, "This is an historic gift from a renowned organization revered for its significant economic, civic, and philanthropic impact." Nohria, who is an alumnus of IIT Mumbai, reminded Americans that Tata Group is widely respected for integrity and innovation, not just in India -- where it produced both the first indigenous car and the $2,000 Tata Nano automobile -- but in a variety of business lines across several continents, from cars to hotels and from tea to information technology.

Tatas own three premier hotel properties in the U.S. in New York (The Pierre), Boston (Ritz) and San Francisco (Campton). Together with its IT operations, its enterprises have created thousands of jobs in recession hit U.S., a fact that is seldom recognized in America.

Source: The Times of India, October 16, 2010

IIMs mull outsourcing for hirings

The expansion of the IIM network has added to faculty shortages facing these institutes. A committee comprising IIM directors and chairmen has suggested innovative measures that includes hiring practising managers and outstanding research scholars and use of faculty resources from IIM system and universities to meet the shortage.

The faculty crunch is more in practice-oriented study areas such as finance, organisation behaviour, rather than in disciplines like economics, statistics and sociology. Earlier this year, there were as many as 90 vacancies in the seven older IIMs. A committee headed by IIM Calcutta Chairman Ajit Balakrishnan has made a set of suggestions to meet the gap. The committee has suggested that IIMs hire 'practice-oriented' faculty. This would mean that IIMs will not insist on Ph.D.s for their faculty.

Practising managers could be taken on as visiting faculty. At the same time, it has been suggested that they be encouraged to take advanced courses in research methodology, which should be followed by publishing papers in peer reviewed journals. After a "reasonable" success in publishing papers, they can be confirmed as full time faculty members.

Another way to bridge the faculty gap that has been suggested is to invite outstanding research scholars from foreign universities on a three-year contractual assignment. This, the committee, hopes will help not just add to faculty strength but also raise the level of research at the institutes.

Citing the example of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, which was a research backwater till Einstein took up residence, the committee said that not only is the stature of the institute raised but the inclusion of outstanding scholars will help shape an insightful research agenda for IIMs.

The Balakrishnan Committee has suggested the idea of incentivising the cross-IIM use of faculty resources and from across the university system. In the way of incentives, teaching assignments in other institutes should be treated at par with consulting assignments. This would help particularly newly-established IIMs, where faculty shortage is acute. Older IIMs have not been keen to loan their faculty to the newly-established institutes such as IIMs at Tiruchirapalli, Ranchi, Raipur and Rohtak.

Source: The Economic Times, October 16, 2010

Bills on higher education unconstitutional: ICU

A newly-formed body of universities today termed as "unconstitutional" a series of bills aimed at reforming higher education in the country and demanded that they be referred to a committee headed by a Supreme Court judge.

The Indian Council of Universities (ICU), which held its first meeting here, discussed the Educational Tribunal Bill, 2010, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in technical educational institutions, medical educational institutions and Universities Bill , 2010 and the Higher Education and Research Bill , 2010 which is yet to be introduced in Parliament.

The opposition from the body comes close on the heels of a similar resistance HRD Minister Kapil Sibal faced in the Rajya Sabha with the Educational Tribunal Bill passed by the Lok Sabha. The meeting, attended by senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Oscar Fernandes as head of a parliamentary standing committee on HRD, felt that the bills were "unconstitutional and their constitutional validity needs to be checked", ICU president S.S. Pabla, also the Vice Chancellor of Sikkim Manipal University, told reporters. He claimed that Fernandes suggested that the ICU representatives should place its views before the parliamentary committee. The Congress leader, however, was not present at the press briefing.

The ICU at present has 60 members, which include chancellors, vice-chancellors of private, central, state and deemed universities and institutions of national importance. The body demanded that all the bills on higher education be referred to the top law officers or a committee be set up under a Supreme Court judge to check their validity in view of constitutional provisions distributing the legislative powers related to higher education among states and the Centre.

In a statement, ICU claimed that Parliament can only be empowered to enact laws on higher education only after the Constitution is amended. "Constitution of India categorically prohibits Parliament to regulate higher education while empowering states to do so...," the body said in the statement. The members also alleged that they were against "over regulation" and believed in evolving a mechanism of self regulation on the lines of TV broadcasters.

Source: The Economic Times, October 16, 2010

LSE, Reliance Foundation to set up universities in India

The London School of Economics (LSE) will collaborate with Reliance Foundation, run by the promoters of India's largest corporate house, for setting up world-class universities in the South-Asian nation. Reliance Foundation is the philanthropy arm of Indian billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries group, while the LSE is one of the world's most reputed business schools.

The LSE would collaborate with the Reliance Foundation in setting up world class Universities in India, LSE's Professor Lord Nicholas Stern said here last night. The comments from Stern, the Director of the India Observatory and Chairman of the Asia Research Centre at the LSE, came in the backdrop of a lecture delivered at LSE by Nita Ambani, Reliance Foundation's Chairperson and Mukesh Ambani's wife.

She said that the Foundation has taken up the challenge to set up a world class university in India to put India on the global education map. "The University will break new grounds in the use of technology and it will be a university that looks global with Indian soul," she added. Noting that India faced the challenge of equity and expansion in education and healthcare, she said the Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Mumbai had produced some of the top talents in the country and some of the students are currently studying at the LSE.

Nita Ambani is also the Chairperson of Dhirubhai Ambani International School. She also suggested that India should introduce many far reaching reforms in its education system and give prominence to music, dance, painting, art and craft. After arriving here with Mukesh Ambani yesterday afternoon in their special chartered flight, Reliance I, the couple also attended a dinner hosted by Professor Lord Nicholas Stern.

Source: The Economic Times, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

IIMs to focus on research

Ahead of the opening up of the higher education sector to international players, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are looking at ways to ensure that they retain a competitive edge. Part of this effort is to beef up the research component of IIMs. Suggestions range from publishing a management journal on the lines of the Harvard Business Review to hosting an annual IIM World Research Conference to greater participation of IIM faculty in boards of companies and policy making committees of industry association. A move that will also help improve the faculty pool of these institutes.

Not all IIMs are similarly placed to deal with the situation. Newly-established IIMs will face the same challenges as the older ones at Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Bangalore and Lucknow . In this situation, a common and concerted response appears to be the most viable option. A committee set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) headed by IIM Calcutta Chairman Ajit Balakrishnan has examined the twin challenge.

The entry of international players, the committee felt would significantly change the environment and present a challenge to the IIMs capability to attract top quality faculty and produce world class research. To meet these challenges, the Balakrishnan Committee has made a slew of recommendations. These include the IIMs come together to help increase the output of their doctoral programmes, jointly publishing a journal aimed at practising managers, holding annual international conference on management. Increased research would require the optimum use of faculty resources, to this end the committee has suggested establishing a high-end video conference system to share faculty and developing pedagogic tools using technology .

The committee is of the view that IIMs must increase their Ph.D. output. At present, the doctoral programme faces several challenges. The first is getting quality applicants. The absence of a sizeable number of high quality applicants means that there are often just one or two doctoral students. This makes the doctoral programme uneconomic; the cost of funding of a doctoral student for the four-year programme is about Rs. 3 million. These challenges need to be dealt with, as a robust doctoral programme would not only improve IIMs research output but also augment the institutes' faculty. The committee has recommended a pooling of resources — in some courses the doctoral programme could be offered jointly by IIMs. A model already exists in IIM Calcutta’s Manufacturing Excellence Programme which is jointly offered by IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras and IIM Calcutta.

Another step to improve research output is to increase the institutes internal funding of research projects. This as opposed to external sponsorships. It is being increasingly seen globally that external sponsorships result in skewed output as sponsors reserve the right to examine the final outcome of the project.

It is being suggested that IIMs jointly produce a quarterly practitioner oriented journal on the lines of the Harvard Business Review. The journal will showcase research articles from across the IIM system. To ensure participation across the system, the management of the journal should be held by rotation. It has been suggested that IIMs also sponsor journals devoted to specialised areas of management. To improve networking and ideas flow, an annual IIM World research conference has been suggested as well. The Balakrishnan Committee has visualised a new role for the ministry as well — moving away from a command-control system to that of ensuring high quality. This would require the ministry to step in and fund collective action welfare-inducing initiatives in the IIMs.

Source: The Economic Times, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

IIMs can top up professors' salaries

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) can physically go global now, and the premier management institutes' teachers can get salaries as per international standards. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has not only allowed them to set up campuses anywhere in the country and abroad after they amend their Memoranda of Association, but also given them the freedom to top up salaries from their own resources.

However, it could result in disparity in salaries across IIMs since only three institutes, Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore, have not been taking government funds except for expansion to accommodate 27% OBC (other backward classes) reservation.

An IIM functionary argued that top-up salaries should be based on tangible factors so that personal discretion of directors does not creep in. Of the 15 IIMs, 10 are operational now, and are fully dependent on the government for financial assistance.

In a slew of decisions that will further strengthen autonomy, IIMs have also been allowed to have a predominant role in the selection of directors, create posts within approved norms, acquire and dispose of property if it not funded by the MHRD, approve their own budgets and also manage the funds generated by them on their own.

In a meeting with chairpersons and directors of IIMs on Wednesday, HRD minister Kapil Sibal, while listing out various initiatives taken by the ministry, stressed that autonomy and accountability should go hand in hand. As for the appointment of directors, it was decided in principle that they will now be appointed through a process in which the board of governors of the IIMs will suggest three names to the government from which the one will be chosen. Currently, the ministry issues advertisements for the appointment of directors.

The meeting considered the reports of three committees set up in April on certain key issues. Discussions were held on the report of the panel constituted to recommend a new governance structure for IIMs.

Source: The Economic Times, October 14, 2010

IIMs given freedom to set up centres in India, abroad

The Centre has decided to unshackle Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) by giving them freedom to set up centres within the country and abroad. This is one of the slew of decisions announced by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to give greater autonomy to the business schools.

At the same time, HRD minister Kapil Sibal stressed that greater autonomy must be accompanied by commensurate accountability. Decisions operationalising autonomy and accountability were announced by Mr Sibal at a meeting with the chairpersons and directors of IIMs on Wednesday.

The IIM autonomy package includes giving the board of governors full powers to create posts in keeping with approved norms, the right to amend rules of IIM within the framework of memorandum of association and rules, the power to acquire and dispose property, which has not been fully or partially funded by the ministry, powers to approve their own budget, and the freedom to manage the funds generated by IIMs.

In return, greater accountability has been demanded of IIMs. It was agreed that the faculty, the director and the board of governors should take steps to prepare annual action plans and key performance indicators at each level. Greater accountability would require greater transparency from IIMs.

In keeping with the reform agenda, the meeting considered reports of committees set up at the meeting in April in Bangalore. Three committees had been set up, committee on new governance structure for IIMs chaired by R C Bhargava, Chairman IIM, Ranchi; committee on faculty and research at IIMs chaired by Ajit Balakrishnan, Chairman, IIM, Calcutta; and committee on fund raising by IIMs chaired by Hari S Bhartia, Chairman of IIM, Raipur.

As suggested by the Bhargava Committee, it was agreed that the number of board members be reduced to 14 from 26. The board of governors would now be required to have adequate membership of the IIM Society, government, faculty and alumni.

To ensure better governance, it was decided that IIM societies should have long term members who take continuous interest in the running of IIMs. A monetary pre requisite for membership of the society, about Rs. 20 crore (Rs. 200 million), was suggested. Mr. Sibal turned down the suggestion on the grounds it would restrict membership to the moneyed and created vested interests.

The norms for membership will have to be worked out. As part of the greater autonomy, the boards will now be given the power to select the institute’s director. The board of governors will suggest three names and the Centre will appoint one of them as director. It marks a return to the older practice, discontinued during the NDA rule.

Source: The Economic Times, October 14, 2010

RV College, Bangalore inks pact with University of Western Australia

Bangalore-based RV College of Engineering has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with University of Western Australia (UWA) for cooperation in teaching and research. The tie-up will enable the college to send students as well as faculty to the premier Australian university for pursuing their research.

On the occasion of the signing ceremony, Prof. Robyn Owens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university said, "India presents a wonderful opportunity for research collaborations with UWA, since we share a unique set of common and complementary interests." According to the academician, the tie-up will help both the institutes to devise solutions for common problems with regards to agriculture, environment, biodiversity, nanotechnology and health.

The MoU will help in exchange staff, joint research activities, joint conferences and exchange of academic materials as well as exchange of students.

B.S. Satyanarayana, Principal of RV College of Engineering noted that MoU will help students who are interested in research. "We look forward to this relationship as many of our areas of interest in terms of sustainable development and renewable energy activities match with the advanced R&D activities," said the principal.

The institutes might also give dual degrees in the long run, where a student can pursue one year at RVCE and another year in Australia. However, it does not have plans to set up offshore campuses in the city or country. The university has tied up with premier institutes like IIT Kharagpur to enhance the relationships between the universities.

Source: Deccan Herald, October 14, 2010

IITians to stamp their brand on varsities

In a first effort of its kind, alumni from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), who are heads and professors in 40 technical institutes, including Thapar University and PEC University of Technology, will meet on Thursday to decide measures to strengthen the technical higher education system in the region.

"As educators who are products of IITs, we want to see how certain things that constitute brand IIT, can be inducted into our curriculum," explained Rajneesh Arora, a graduate of IIT-Delhi and Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University.

They will devise a plan to improve the education system as well as infrastructure and teaching skills. "The quality of technical teachers in Punjab is lower than those in the IITs. Many don't have the kind of knowledge required to teach a subject, nor are there requisite laboratories for students," said Ravinder K. Sehgal, HOD of Computer Science in Jasdev Singh Sandhu Institute of Engineering and Technology. "Unlike IITs, the smaller technical universities in Punjab lack an industry-institute linkage. This system needs to be created to give our students work experience in the industry," said Kuldip Singh Sayan, Principal of Continental Institute of Engineering and Technology. "We need to make sure that technical courses are taught in the local language to make it easier for students," said Arora.

Source: The Times of India, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

IIMs to discuss reforms - autonomy, research and faculty evaluation

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the government on Wednesday hope to seal a reform blueprint for the country's top B-schools based on a set of three reports aimed at enabling the IIMs to emerge as global leaders.

Greater autonomy coupled with performance evaluation of faculty and research are key aspects of the proposed reforms which IIM Directors will discuss with HRD minister Kapil Sibal, government sources told HT. The discussions are crucial because influential sections within the IIMs are not comfortable with some of the proposals, Institute sources said.

One of the three panels set up by the government earlier this year, headed by IIM Calcutta Chairman Ajit Balakrishnan, has suggested that the IIMs focus on increasing research output from about 50 Ph.D.s annually at present to 150. The panel has suggested the government fund up to Rs. 30,00,000 for each Ph.D. scholar. "Ph.D. research is not something from which the IIMs earn any revenue, which is why we need the government's financial support if we are to increase our Ph.D. output," a member of the panel said. The panel has also suggested that teachers at the IIMs teach up to 160 hours in classes annually. This proposal is the subject of discussion among teachers.

Another panel-under Maruti Chairman R.C. Bhargava --- whose reports will be discussed on Wednesday, has proposed streamlining of the Boards of Governors. Directors are also likely to seek greater autonomy in faculty appointments.

Source: Hindustan Times, October 13, 2010

IIMs to export CAT to foreign business schools

The brutally competitive Common Admission Test (CAT) is all set for a cross-over. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), which conduct the entrance exam, have been approached by business schools in Sri Lanka to do a CAT for their candidates as well, a plan that will take off next year. "We refused to conduct the CAT for them this year, but will do so in 2011," confirmed Himanshu Rai, Convener of CAT-2010.

Although the Indian market is shrinking, the IIMs feel the CAT is likely to get fatter as it flies out. "Apart from Lanka, B-schools in several countries in South-East Asia have shown interest in admitting students through the exam," Rai said.

Indeed, Rai had hinted at such a development last month in an article he wrote for a financial daily. "CAT ought to be taken across the frontiers since that would make it more viable while bringing in the best global practices," he had written. "The road is steep but the IIMs have always had the will and the capability. They have led others to global standards and they will continue to do so."

In 2009, after 33 years of a paper-pencil format, the test graduated to a computer-based one. The CAT in foreign lands, too, will follow the existing Indian model. The IIMs will hire an agency to conduct the exam; questions, however, will be designed by them, for which the IIMs have been thinking of setting up a company under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act, 1956. "Setting up a separate entity will ensure that a handful of IIM faculty members are de-linked temporarily from teaching and are involved only in conducting the exam. Few realise it, but it is a mammoth task," said an IIM faculty.

Currently, the IIMs have signed a five-year-long contract with an American-based testing firm, Prometric, to conduct the computer-based test. While the U.S. company is paid a fixed fee, the IIMs make their bucks through the money that flows in from applicants' registrations and from the fees they charge other B-schools for using the CAT scores to admit their candidates.

This year, apart from the IIMs, 157 B-schools across the country will use the CAT marks to select their students from a pool of 200,600 Indians who will sit for the test.

Source: The Times of India, October 13, 2010

IIMs to raise funds Yale University style

The elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), which largely rely on government support, may soon raise money from their alumni. On Wednesday, the IIMs will discuss the report of a government-appointed panel that outlines the need for professional fund-raising by setting up dedicated offices and appointing experts, two officials of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) said.

The committee has suggested an initial plan for the four oldest IIMs --- at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore and Lucknow --- to raise Rs. 400 crore (Rs. 4 billion) from their alumni. The plan follows Yale University's fund-raising model, under which the institutes will identify prospective fund givers, solicit money from them and keep them informed about how it is being used.

"The committee has given its report and has some forward-looking proposals. It will be discussed at the IIMs' meeting, chaired by HRD minister Kapil Sibal," one of the officials said. "The proposal for raising an initial Rs. 400 crore by four IIMs over a period of three years is an achievable target, looking at the wide alumni base of these institutes."

The committee which was set up by the MHRD, is headed by Hari S. Bhartia, Chairman of the Board of Governors of IIM-Raipur and Co- Chariman of Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd. Bharat Gulia, Manager - Education at audit and consultancy firm Ernst and Young, said the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have been successful at pooling resources from alumni. "These B-schools have not done so. Their students are in good positions worldwide and it would be great to leverage it," he said. "IIMs are looking for greater financial autonomy and this is a positive step." He added that unless professionals are hired, the fund-raising effort won't succeed.

The second MHRD official said IIMs are gradually becoming global brands, and raising funds professionally to fuel their growth is an important step for them. "A growing brand like IIM cannot entirely depend on government money. This effort suggested by the committee is one of the alternative ways to become financially robust," the official said. Both officials declined to be named.

The Bhartia Committee has proposed that, like Yale University, the four IIMs should reach out to former students who can contribute by making presentations and inviting them on campus for further interaction. Those who cannot spare the time should be given the option of donating through telephone or Internet banking. They should also be allowed to donate in cash and kind, another model followed by Yale.

Besides the four schools mentioned in the report, India has six more IIMs at Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong, Rohtak, Ranchi and Raipur. While the older IIMs receive Rs. 20 crore (Rs. 200 million) a year from the government, the new ones at Rohtak, Ranchi and Raipur will receive Rs. 400 crore each over the next eight years.

"This is just the beginning. We have submitted the report, and a final decision will be taken on Wednesday by the HRD minister," said a member of the Bhartia Committee, also requesting anonymity. Besides government funding, IIMs also raise some money through executive programmes and consultancy. The Wednesday meeting, to be attended by the Directors and Chairpersons of all IIMs, will also discuss governance, curricula and branding of IIMs.

Source: Mint, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

India's 10th IIM inaugurated

The tenth Indian Institute of Management (IIM) was opened in Raipur on Monday in the presence of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, academicians and management experts. Classes will be held on the campus of Government Engineering College until IIM-Raipur (IIM-R) gets its own address. Singh was the chief guest at the inaugural function, which was chaired by the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Hari S. Bhartia.

Extending his best wishes to the students, Singh said Chhattisgarh had achieved 11.49 per cent growth in state gross domestic product only because of proper management of its various public welfare schemes. He said the new building of the institute, to come up in the New Raipur region, would reflect the culture and heritage of Chhattisgarh.

To begin with, IIM-R, being mentored by IIM-Indore, has 70 seats for the two-year post-graduate programme. IIM-R Mentor Director N. Ravichandran, who is Director, IIM-Indore, said: "The faculty members will be outsourced from various IIMs, including IIM-Indore, although we have received 800 applications seeking jobs at IIM-R." The process of recruiting faculty would take some time, he added.

Source: Hindustan Times, October 12, 2010

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Many distance learning courses not recognized: AICTE

Several courses offered by popular distance education institutions like Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) and Punjab Technical University (PTU) are unapproved, India's apex technical education regulator has warned students. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has warned students across India to avoid these courses because degrees earned at the end of these programmes will be unrecognized. The AICTE Member Secretary has issued a public advisory recently, council member secretary D.K. Paliwal confirmed.

The decision came after the AICTE received several complaints from students and other stakeholders of institutions --- including SMU and PTU --- running technical education programmes through distance mode, the sources said. Thousands of students across India are enrolled in various distance education programmes offered by SMU and PTU, which are among the country's best known and most popular institutions for distance education after Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).

AICTE Acting Chairman S.S. Mantha said the council under its policy approved distance education programmes only in MBA and MCA. "Any other programme offered through distance education has not been approved by us," Mantha said. SMU offers a slew of engineering, technology and hospitality-related programmes through the distance mode.
PTU also offers a B.Sc. in information technology.

Any institution can start a distance education course only after it is approved by a joint committee of the AICTE, University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Distance Education Council (DEC).

PTU Dean Dr. N.P. Singh, however, said the varsity had obtained approval from the joint panel. "The AICTE advisory is unwarranted as it will create confusion among them," he said. "We went through the entire process of applications. Our programmes were recognized by the DEC but face the AICTE's concerns because of technicalities which are not in our hands," SMU Academic Director V. Sivaramakrishnan said. Paliwal, however, told HT that at the last meeting of the tripartite committee, SMU and PTU requests for recognition to various programmes were rejected.

Source: Hindustan Times, October 9, 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010

Post-CWG should see demand in sports management courses

With India playing host to global sporting events like the 2010 Commonwealth Games that are expected to boost the market for sport management professionals in the country, the mood regarding placements is upbeat on the campus of the Indian Institute of Management-Shillong (IIM-S).

IIM-S is one of the early birds to have a course in sport management, one of the off-beat courses in any management institute. The institute has received a number of pre-placement offers (PPOs), interviews (PPIs) and recommendations. "The course is an attempt to equip the participants with necessary sports management concepts and tools for developing an appreciation of the function and the value which it can add to the achievement of organizational goals," Institute Director Ashok K. Dutta told the sources in an interview. He underlined the need for professional managers in executing big-ticket sporting events.

The troubles besetting the Commonwealth Games to an extent proves his point. It is perhaps not surprising that the organizers of the Games had to requisition the services of foreign experts. Also, India is witnessing commercialization of sports, the notable being the T20 Indian Premier League (IPL). Owning clubs is coming up in big way. Experts say the high visibility and entertainment value of sport provides opportunities in the organization and marketing of sport events, sports-related advertising and venue signage, athlete endorsements, facility construction, sporting goods and licensed merchandise, event management and marketing services, sponsorship and ticket sales, media broadcast rights and multimedia.

According to one estimate, the sports marketing business in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow 22 per cent this year as against 15 per cent last year. Globally, it was estimated to be over US$ 250 billion in 2009.

Dutta said the course gives an opportunity for students to implement their classroom learning in real-life during the "Corporate & B-School Golf Tournament" that IIM-S organizes annually. The students are also enthusiastic. "We arrange and participate in the tournament activities which help us learn how to manage an event from inception to the end," said Mohit Khemka, a student. The Golf Cup season will start in November.

IIM-S is also the first management institute to have a course on Chinese language, an add-on course mainly for the postgraduate students. In view of China being one of the most important emerging markets in the modern market economy, there is immense potential and vast business opportunities with China. India with its growing emphasis on the "Look East" policy is much better placed in comparison with most other nations to avail itself of such growing business opportunities in the world's fastest growing economy.

"Therefore, equipped with a preliminary knowledge of Chinese language particularly the business language has been an added advantage for the students," said Dutta. "It will be of great help for the students in their career as they can avail themselves of the vast business opportunities that exist in China."

There was 100 per cent placement for the class of 2010, which had 63 participants. The class of 2011 will see 66 students graduating. Dutta did not disclose the number of PPOs and PPIs IIM-S has received. He, however, said the maximum offers are from the banking and financial services industry.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the Director is mulling shifting the placements to IIM Calcutta this academic year, as Shillong's physical location is sometimes a deterrent in the placement process. The institute for its first batch followed the "cohort-based recruitment" process in which companies come for placements over continuous weekends that are called cohorts.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

U.S. varsity keen on partnering with innovation universities

India's plan to enlist international institutes to partner its proposed innovation universities has received a boost, with the University of Illinois from the U.S. expressing interest. The university's interim Chancellor Robert A. Easter and three of his colleagues, including Assistant Vice-Chancellor for public engagement Pradeep Khanna, met Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal on Monday to discuss a partnership, according to two ministry officials.

India has decided to set up 14 innovation universities, which will be research-oriented campuses that will not be controlled by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the university regulator. Each university will have a theme to focus on.

"Illinois University is interested for partnering with an innovation university with bio-science and agriculture (as its focus theme)," said one of the two officials cited above. The official, who didn't want to be named, said although Sibal had received some positive signals from U.S. educational institutes during his visit to that country last month, this is the first time that a leading university had sent a delegation to India to discuss the proposal. The second official said foreign collaboration and funding will "boost higher education through a research-oriented mindset", adding that Easter was told to be in touch with the government's Department of Biotechnology for a detailed discussion. He also didn't want to be named.

As reported by Mint on August 3, the draft bill to set up the innovation institutions allows each university to set its own policy to attract faculty members from India and abroad and hire them directly, offering wages and perks that it deems fit.

The proposed innovation universities will have the potential to develop into leading research hubs, making them attractive to foreign educational institutions, said Narayanan Ramaswamy, Executive Director (Education) at consulting firm KPMG India. "Hence, these are the right place to invest (in)," he said.

Source: Mint, October 7, 2010

IIM-Bangalore to train principals of CBSE schools

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has roped in IIM-Bangalore to train principals of affiliated schools in efficiently managing reforms like replacing marks with grades and handling the continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) system. The training programme will be especially aimed at principals of senior secondary schools, empowering them to manage the reforms introduced by CBSE in the last couple of years, Board officials said.

The training programme, scheduled early next year, will also introduce them to different modes of assessment --- formative and summarative assessment, incorporating multiple intelligence conceptual framework for assessment and innovative ways of transaction. The training component will also include identifying and implementing suitable systems of appraisal and evaluation of feedback for teachers and staff and role of technology in management of schools.

Contextualising the initiatives and flagship CBSE programmes like comprehensive schools health programmes, life skills programmes, adolescent education programmes and introduction of CCE and other alternative modes of assessment will also be included in the five-day-long programme, the officials said.

The training programme christened 'Strategic Management and Leadership' will also help the school heads develop systemic strategies and processes for managing key functional areas in schools, such as financial management and resource mobilisation, management of human resources and interpersonal relations and resolution of conflicts.

The CBSE had earlier also forged collaboration with a few IIMs to offer such training programmes, the response to which was overwhelming, the officials said.

Source: The Economic Times, October 7, 2010

National Educational Tribunal: Sibal sorts out issue with House panel

Higher education reform is back on government agenda, with HRD minister Kapil Sibal taking the parliamentary standing committee on board. Mr. Sibal met with standing committee members to resolve the impasse over the National Educational Tribunal.

Sources indicated that recommendations of the standing committee that appear to have been accepted includes reducing the age of the tribunal members from 55 to 35 years and increasing the number of benches in states. The minister is understood to have assured the standing committee that he will take on board some of their recommendations. Mr. Sibal is expected to give Parliament an assurance to this effect. The recommendations will, however, be included as an amendment to the bill at a later date.

Sources close to the developments said that, Mr. Sibal will assure Parliament that the government will come back with amendments once the tribunal is operational for some time. A likely timeline of a year has been suggested, as this would allow the government to address any other deficiencies that the tribunal may experience.

In resolving the differences, the way has been paved for the parliamentary panel to take up discussions on two other bills --- The Prohibition of Unfair Practises in Technical, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill and the National Authority for Regulation in Accreditation of Higher Educational Institutions Bill. These three bills form the basic framework of the proposed higher education reform.

The stand off between the members of the parliamentary standing committee had resulted after the government attempted to push the educational tribunal bill through Rajya Sabha on the last day of the monsoon session.
Members expressed displeasure over the governments disregard for the recommendations made by the standing committee. In the face of opposition from even Congress MPs, the government was forced to defer the bill. During the discussion in the Rajya Sabha, members questioned the ministry's decision to disregard the panels recommendation. Congress MP Keshav Rao objected to the ministry's decision to reject the standing committee report. Mr. Rao had questioned the rationale behind the standing committee deliberating on a bill if the government was unwilling to consider its views. He said that rejection of the report on the bill and not telling Parliament about it to the House was unacceptable.

In yet another expression of displeasure, the standing committee decided to defer discussions on a bill meant to check malpractice in higher education till the Rajya Sabha passes the National Educational Tribunal Bill. The decision effectively threw a spanner in the ministry's plans to fast-track reform in higher education. Mr. Sibal, who was in the U.S. at that time, then decided to reach out to MPs.

Source: The Economic Times, October 7, 2010

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