Friday, May 13, 2011

Revised Kakodkar panel report to be placed before IIT Joint Council

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Thursday decided to place the “re-worked” version of the Kakodkar Committee report on autonomy for Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) before the IIT Joint Council for a final decision.

The revised report is not too different from the original report that had sought seeking a four-fold increase in fees for undergraduate courses at the prestigious IITs but was rejected by the Council saying that it would make IITs inaccessible for a large section of students. However, this time the Committee has suggested a graded subsidy system.

The Committee that presented its original report in February but was asked to rework on it, made a presentation before the Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal here on Thursday has stuck to its proposal to increase fee from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 200,000 a year, while suggesting a graded subsidy system that would mean that IITs would provide freeships and scholarships to 25 per cent of the students while levels of partial support would be provided to another set of students and then there would be those who would have access to education loans. Mr. Sibal is said to have suggested that the proposals should be put on the website for a feedback before a final call is taken by the IIT Joint Council.

The five-member Committee, set up to suggest a road map for IIT's autonomy and growth, had recommended the hike to make IITs more self-sufficient, reduce dependence on grants, and enable the institutes to create faculty and non-faculty posts on their own without having to seek government clearance. The Committee, which presented the report before the Council, also suggested that the 15 IITs should raise the money to run undergraduate courses entirely through tuition fees and not depend on grants.

The Committee was set up in October 2009. Its other members are: T.V. Mohandas Pai, former Director (Human Resource), Infosys; K. Mohandas, Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University of Health and Allied Sciences; Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT Madras; and Hari Bhartia, Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). IIT-Guwahati Director Gautam Barua, IIT-Mandi Director T. Gonsalves and IIT-Kanpur Chairman M. Anandakrishnan were special invitees.

The Committee had a series of meetings with the IIT directors, faculty and industry representatives. Its members visited five universities in China last November to familiarise themselves with the best practices in science education and research.

Source: The Hindu, May 13, 2011

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