Govt Must Make Ac­count­abil­ity a Key Con­di­tion for Au­ton­omy

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

other IIM was ac­corded sim­i­lar au­ton­omy sub­se­quently.

Most of the fea­tures that ap­pear to be in the IIM Bill, 2017 are al­ready en­shrined in the MoA and the rules that gov­ern func­tion­ing of IIMA. Thus, IIMA al­ready en­joys the au­ton­omy, at least on pa­per, that is re­port­edly to be pro­vided by the new bill. The Bill there­fore pro­poses to ex­tend sim­i­lar au­ton­omy to other IIMs. Prima fa­cie, this ought to be good news, but is it?

The­land­scapeof man­age­ment­e­d­u­ca­tion has seen a ma­jor shift in the last five years. While the num­ber of IIMshas­grownto20,sev­eral­man­age­mentschool­shave­closed­down­dueto mod­er­a­tion in the craze for MBA. Most new IIMs how­ever are mere name­plate in­sti­tu­tions, sev­eral with no di­rec­tor, no per­ma­nent fac­ulty or ad­min­is­tra­tive staff. The short­age of qual­i­fied teach­ers plagues even the es­tab­lishedIIMs.The­p­ro­lif­er­a­tionof IIMs with­out con­cern for qual­i­fied aca­demic re­sources to run them has meant se­vere di­lu­tion of brand IIM. This was pointed out re­peat­edly by IIMA in the dis­cus­sions pre­ced­ing set­ting up of new IIMs. The qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion im­parted in th­ese new in­sti­tu­tions is yet to sta­bilise at ac­cepted lev­els. Com­plete au­ton­omy to the fledg­ling IIMs with­out aca­demic rigour is likely to be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. The temp­ta­tion to start a plethora of pro­grammes op­por­tunis­ti­cally, in­clud­ing doc­toral and bach­e­lor’s pro­grammes, may fur­ther hurt the cause of man­age­ment ed­u­ca­tion that is al­ready reel­ing un­der on­slaught on qual­ity. Is com­plete au­ton­omy good for the es­tab­lished IIMs? The last few years have wit­nessed sig­nif­i­cant ex­pan­sion by all IIMs. In ad­di­tion to in­creas­ing the num­bers ad­mit­ted to the es­tab­lished pro­grammes, they have ex­panded into dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion. The ex­pan­sion has been in­dis­crim­i­nate with lit­tle con­trol on the qual­ity of of­fer­ings.

Theev­i­dence­fro­macross­the­world is clear – good man­age­ment schools limit the size and scope of their op­er­a­tions to sus­tain qual­ity in ev­ery ac­tiv­ity they un­der­take. There is a con­scious ef­fort to in­no­vate and cre­ate new par­a­digms in man­age­ment from con­cep­tual and em­pir­i­cal re- search to pro­pose so­lu­tions to prob­lems faced by or­ga­ni­za­tions and so­ci­ety. This is not the choice be­ing made­bythe­old­erIIMs.Thereis­lit­tle rel­e­vant knowl­edge cre­ation as that re­quires per­se­ver­ance and ef­fort of a very high or­der. Aca­demic rigor of teach­ing pro­grammes is also on the de­clinewith­theem­pha­sis­shift­ingto rev­enue gen­er­a­tion rather than trans­fer of cut­ting edge knowl­edge. Com­pleteau­ton­o­myin­sucha­nen­vi­ron­ment is likely to ac­cel­er­ate the move­ment of es­tab­lished IIMs on the path to be­com­ing pedes­trian in­sti­tu­tions. Cau­tion is called for. The au­ton­omy should be granted with well-crafted ac­count­abil­ity met­ric so that IIMs serve the cause of the coun­try by en­hanc­ing the re­spect th­ey­command­in­man­age­ment­e­d­u­ca­tion glob­ally. Else, it could be the be­gin­ning of a de­cline in the rep­u­ta­tion­thathas­been­buil­toverdecades.

Au­thor is a for­mer di­rec­tor, IIMA

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