IIMs asked scale up capacity. Will quality get compromised?

Posted by: at 9/30/2016 06:34:00 am

India 30 September 2016: 
Hon’ble Union Minister of HRD, Prakash Javadekar has asked the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) to ponder over ways in which their intake capacity can be increased. 

A meeting with heads of various IIMs was held to discuss on how to raise the bar in terms of quality education and to scale up the existing intake capacity. Directors of Old, New and ‘Baby’ IIMs, some of which are mentored by old IIMs, are supposed to submit their respective plans with respect to the proposed expansion plan. 

Presently around 20 IIMs offers seats to nearly 10,000 students every year and HRD ministry is keen that this number be taken close to 20,000. Candidates are selected for admission at IIMs strictly based on ranks on the aggregate score based on CAT/GMAT, Academic Rating and WAT  and PI scores for all categories. 

Apparently, many new and baby IIMs have been struggling with existing challenges of meeting expansion targets, infrastructure, creating a balanced eco-system and finding quality faculty. Many of the new and IIMs do not have their own campus and operates out of shared campus or shared infrastructure of the state. Even for some of the established top IIMs filling up existing seats while maintaining quality of students, has been a challenge as IIMs need to abide by the reservation policy laid down by Government of India - 27% of the seats are reserved for NC-OBC, 15% for SC and 7.5% for ST candidates.  3% seats are reserved for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) candidates - a) low-vision/blindness, b) hearing impairment, and c) loco motor disability, cerebral palsy.
As per a RTI response by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM A), the minimum CAT percentile for ST students has fallen from 83 % for 2010-12 batch to 80 % (2011-13) and 60 % (2012-14) to 38.34% (2013-15) session. 

According to Dr. Jitendra K Das, former Dean IIM Lucknow (Noida Campus) also having taught at IIM Ahmedabad & Kozikhode, currently Director, FORE School of Management, New Delhi,  
“Considering the large requirement, it is a good initiative to increase admission seats in the IITs and the IIMs. However, it seems that the government is ignoring the contribution to higher education by the non-government institutions which collectively provide many times more than the seats on offer by the government institutions. It would be a paradigm shift if the government gave equal attention to the non-government institutions of higher education to bring them at par with the same or similar regulatory framework as enjoyed by the government institutions akin to a common corporate law that governs government as well as private companies.”

Many new IIMs do not have their own campus.

Echoing similar sentiments,Dr. P.K. Biswas, Director, Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) Chennai, said, "It is welcome move but may backfire due to lack of quality faculty. The brand of IIM is already getting diluted with the mushrooming new IIMs. At IFMR, we have strong Ph.Dprogramme, initiated in 1982 before PGDM was launched in 2000.Currently we have 23 Ph.D Students with better stipend & facilities than IIMs or IITs.Government has to recognize contributions of top private B-Schools & support them too.Like Indian economy, which cannot survive without private sector, contributions of Private schools cannot be ignored.Energy should be drawn from synergy with private B-Schools, with track record and testimony."

Hon’ble Minister also expressed his desire to increase seats for Doctoral Programs, as that will address the shortage of faculties in the institutes.  For creating more PhDs, the Minister said that, better avenues of fellowship will be offered to willing candidates. He added that in line with the IIT Council, where it has been decided to award PM's scholarship for PhD program, government approval will be sought for PM's scholarship for best of PhD scholars in IIMs. Incidentally, according to earlier reports IIMs and other top B Schools in the country have a shortage of more than 5000 quality faculties. 
IIMs asked scale up capacity. Will quality get compromised?

Talking about the quality issues, Dr. Jitendra Das, who has been a member of many Policy Level Committees of the Government of India, said, “Sudden and substantial increase in admission seats in the IIMs will bring forth the quality of education issues in these government institutions focused on shortage of quality faculty. A mere allocation of fund and creation of infrastructure cannot guarantee quality education. An open compensation structure for faculty, as is prevalent in some well-known institutions/universities in USA and Canada, will help fill the gap by attracting international faculty to work full time in these government institutions and thus, the government should let go of the fee that can be charged for these degree programs. It must be understood that higher education is a choice to be exercised by individuals and such a decision is always based on price-quality levels, if available. A similar policy for the non-government institutions/ university will do a lot good to meet the national need and as well create a competitive environment in the higher education space.”    

Incidentally, some of the top B Schools from the private sector which are well equipped with infrastructure, having quality facility and faculty in place, are yet to receive approvals from AICTE on their expansion plans. 

Author – nirmalya pal
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