Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Faculty unhappy with IIM restructuring and governance reforms

Earlier this month, Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Calcutta faculty had made public their unhappiness over the governance and restructuring reforms in the IIMs proposed by two committees set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

Now, in the latest article published in the Economic & Political Weekly, two IIM Bangalore faculty members have launched a scathing attack on the committee’s reports and IIM Directors. Titled "Governance of IIMs - a critique of the Bhargava Committee Report", the article penned by Amit Gupta and Ganesh N. Prabhu says the R.C. Bhargava Committee report on new governance structure of the IIMs, co-authored by three current directors, "is a blatantly self-serving report by directors who seek to centralise power and destroy the decentralised governance structure that has made the IIMs institutions of excellence".

Accusing the committee of operating in isolation and without any consultation with the "only permanent and major stakeholder — the faculty", the article rips apart the report for "seeking to destroy the decentralised governance that has been the strength of IIMs".

The committee on a new 'Governance Structure for IIMs' has advocated reducing the size of IIM Boards and Society, reconstituting the society to allow alumni, corporates and suitable individuals to become members on payment of a donation ranging from Rs. 5 crore (Rs. 50 million) to Rs. 20 crore (Rs. 200 million), 160 teaching hours per year for faculty, besides annual reviews, redesignating IIM Directors as CEO & President among other proposals.

Rejecting the committee's arguments on IIM Boards setting up annual targets for faculty and the emphasis on faculty income through executive programmes, the article notes that "the statements in the report relating to faculty are largely negative and show contempt for the faculty". It further adds that the IIM faculty enjoy substantial autonomy in allocating their time beyond their teaching commitments and this autonomy is "critical to excellence and productivity at IIMs".

The "overemphasis on role and importance of directors" of IIMs also does not seem to have gone down well. Objecting to proposals to hike the IIM Director’s salary and re-designate them as CEO, the IIM faculty members have argued that while the committee intends to reduce the legitimate role of faculty, it aims to increase the illegitimate role of directors and the board to control the faculty. It is also argued that the new empowered Board and Director as proposed by the committee will only centralise power.

Terming the idea of reviving the IIM Society and allowing donation-based membership as "most absurd", the critique argues that this will only facilitate a backdoor entry to privatisation where moneyed people will take over the prestigious IIMs and might seek a return on their investment by serving their own interests and even influence student admissions. Warning against allowing IIMs to become "fiefdoms of people with money", the article emphasises the need to "preserve the democratic and process-oriented of the IIM model with all its frustrations and problems".

Source: The Indian Express, April 26, 2011

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