IIM Bill: B-school fo­rum to boost au­ton­omy

POWER-PACKED Set­ting up of the pro­posed IIM fo­rum will help cre­ate a layer to ‘in­su­late the IIMs from govt con­trol’

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Gauri Kohli

De­bates are heating up over the pro­posed draft of the In­dian In­sti­tutes of Man­age­ment (IIM) Bill 2015. Is­sues in fo­cus are the set­ting up of the pro­posed IIM Fo­rum and drop­ping the pro­vi­sion for the Vis­i­tor (the Pres­i­dent of In­dia serves as Vis­i­tor in Cen­trally funded in­sti­tutes and IITs). Many aca­demic ex­perts also say that if im­ple­mented the new rules will put the fu­ture of in­sti­tutes of­fer­ing post­grad­u­ate diploma in man­age­ment (PGDM) in jeop­ardy. As for the com­plete au­ton­omy promised to the IIMs? The jury’s out on that one too.

The draft will go t o t he Cabi­net be­fore it is pre­sented in the on­go­ing Win­ter Ses­sion of Par­lia­ment. It is aimed at giv­ing IIMs the sta­tus of In­sti­tutes of Na­tional Im­por­tance and em­pow­er­ing them to grant de­grees. As of now, the IIMs of­fer PGDMs. PLANS FOR AN IIM FO­RUM A co-or­di­na­tion fo­rum of all IIMs is pro­posed to be set up with the HRD min­is­ter, ex-of­fi­cio, as chair­per­son. Prof TV Mo­han­das Pai, se­nior vice pres­i­dent, All In­dia Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, feels it is a good idea as it will cre­ate a “layer to in­su­late the IIMs from gov­ern­ment con­trol.”

The fo­rum will also help IIMs lever­age each other’s re­sources and give pol­icy di­rec­tion to these in­sti­tutes. How­ever, this should not mat­ter much to the IIMs, says Ashok Thakur, for­mer sec­re­tary to the gov­ern­ment of In­dia, depart­ment of higher ed­u­ca­tion, HRD min­istry. “Ear­lier, the HRD min­is­ter used to chair the IIM meet­ings round-the-year. But this was done in­for­mally. There was no Act bind­ing them to­gether. Meet­ings were held four times a year and these meet­ings were to co­or­di­nate and not in­ter­fere. It worked fairly okay. Such a fo­rum was first pro­posed by an IIM re­view com­mit­tee un­der RC Bhar­gava.”

There have been re­ports of IIMs op­pos­ing such a fo­rum as such an over­ar­ch­ing body would un­der­mine their au­ton­omy and that it would be on the lines of the IIT Coun­cil. Thakur be­lieves such fears are un­founded as it will help the B- schools have reg­u­lar meet­ings with the min­istry. “It is also dif­fer­ent from the IIT Coun­cil. The IITs work as a team and there is not much of a dif­fer­ence in their ap­proaches. Among IIMs, how­ever, there is a very strong sense of com­pe­ti­tion, even be­tween IIM Ahmed­abad, Ban­ga­lore and Cal­cutta. It is not a col­lab­o­ra­tive game.”

The IIT Coun­cil, by virtue of the IIT Act, is a co­op­er­a­tive en­tity and not like the pro­posed fo­rum as there are dif­fer­ences be­tween IIMs – es­pe­cially be­tween the old and the new in­sti­tutes. The fo­rum will only give a broader fo­cus to man­age­ment ed­u­ca­tion poli­cies, he says. It is a good idea to let the IIMs com­pete for in­no­va­tion. Suggest­ing an­other way, Prof Pri­tam Singh, for­mer di­rec­tor, IIM Luc­know, says, “Hav­ing a peer re­view sys­tem can be an op­tion and will give the IIMs a plat­form to look within and also im­prove. It should com­prise dis­tin­guished schol­ars with a good leader. A cue can be taken from Har­vard Uni­ver­sity’s struc­ture wherein the var­sity has schools which are au­ton­o­mous and an apex body that su­per­vises them and does day-to-day con­trol.” ‘VIS­I­TOR’ NOT WEL­COME? Re­cent re­ports sug­gest that the IIM Bill will not have the pro­vi­sion for the Vis­i­tor as Pres­i­dent of In­dia in its fi­nal ver­sion. The draft says that the Vis­i­tor can ap­point one or more per­sons to re­view the work and progress of any in­sti­tute. IIMs have re­port­edly re­sisted the pro­posal say­ing it will put a ques­tion mark on their said au­ton­o­mous pow­ers, say ex­perts. The Vis­i­tor makes top ap­point­ments in all IITs and Cen­tral var­si­ties and also holds a probe in the func­tion­ing of an in­sti­tute or its head.

“This is a ma­jor de­par­ture from the In­sti­tutes of Na­tional Im­por­tance model.Ma­jor ap­point­ments had to go through the Vis­i­tor. Who re­places him is the ques­tion. if it’s the MHRD then it is go­ing to be a dou­bleedged sword for the IIMs. In the long run, if there is in­di­rect in­ter­fer­ence from the min­istry then the buck stops with MHRD,” says Thakur. Prof Pai, how­ever, says, “Re­moval of the Vis­i­tor will pos­i­tively im­pact the IIMs as it was a way for the gov­ern­ment to ex­er­cise di­rect con­trol.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.