Friday, October 28, 2011

IIM-C widens its net to catch more students

Every year over 200,000 students take the CAT (Common Entrance Test) examination aiming to join the premier management institutions, but only about 3,000 make it. Some enter the IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management), a few more join other premier institutes like IMS, FMS and others. Those who do not clear the examination settle for other private management institutions, or foreign universities, or choose a different profession.

Here is an opportunity for those others to look at online courses offered by the top management institutes of the country. IIM-Calcutta (IIM-C), which is celebrating its golden jubilee this year, declared an ambitious five-year plan to reach out to more students. The institution has already started offering online courses on management, and plans to do this in full measure. “We are the only institute of this repute, 10 per cent of whose revenue is generated through online programmes,” says Shekhar Chaudhuri, Director of IIM-C.

The institute presently houses 462 students. Its strength can be increased to 700 in the coming years. “Yes, we are developing infrastructure to accommodate more students, and our target is to take 500 students this year. But how far can we increase the strength? We cannot accommodate the thousands of students taking the examination,” says Ajit Balakrishnan, Chairman of the board of governors of IIM-C. "It is not economically viable. [On the other hand,] we can certainly educate thousands through online courses.”

There are always apprehensions among students that online courses are not as effective as full-time courses. But here IIM-C is offering Internet-based courses which will enable an online education in real time. They will be in no way inferior to full-time campus courses, says Chaudhuri. “We designed the courses so that the candidate will also be visiting the campus for a few days to learn,” he adds.

IIM-C has about 600 students on its campus every year, plus about 4,500 through its distance programmes. With the introduction of Internet-based models the institute is expecting to add 2,000 more students this year, and reach out to 5,000 more students in coming years. “The courses offered online are socially motivated to reach out to different geographies and different sections of people who would otherwise miss a quality education,” says Sougata Ray, IIM-C’s Dean.

To address the woes of the manufacturing sector, which complains that the best management people enter the service sector, IIM-C is offering a programme titled “Visionary Leadership in Manufacturing,” in collaboration with IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Madras. The institute is also planning to develop a one-year Advanced Teachers Management programme, that will help institutions across the SAARC region to enhance the quality of their management faculties. These teachers will also participate in doctoral programmes at the institute. IIM-C will also tie up with other universities, foreign and Indian, to develop a diverse faculty and student body. It aims to become an International Centre of Excellence in Management Studies.

Source: Business Standard, October 28, 2011

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