Is even one of our institutions world class, asks Sibal

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has backed Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s statement that the IITs and IIMs did not have world class faculty. Sibal has infact questioned whether any of India’s institutions are world-class.

“In the situation today, is even one of our institutions world class? If it is world class, it must be in the top 100, 150 institutions in the world. That is not evident,” Sibal said, a day after Jairam Ramesh declared that the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) had quality students but not faculty.

Responding on the Jairam Ramesh’s statement, Sibal also added that the environment minister must be talking about his own experience.

“Of course, Jairam is talking about himself because he is a world class student and he is an IITian himself, so he has insider knowledge himself.”

The environment minister’s statement also received support from the alumni associations from IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur. These associations demanded higher salary and perks for IIT teaching faculty to attract new minds in faculty to sustain IIT brand globally.

“Opening of new IITs by government without recruiting new faculty has already burdened the existing faculty in IITs. Almost every citizen in the country is paying education cess to ensure that our gurus (IIT and other teachers) are paid well. Most of the IITs are already facing faculty shortage,” said IIT Kharagpur Alumni Association member Y.P.S. Suri.

“The current pay scales of IIT faculty are so unattractive that a fresh graduate from IIT attracts more salary,” he said.

Programme director of the IIT Delhi Alumni Association V.K. Saluja agreed. “We appeal to the government to make faculty salary levels inspiring enough to attract new minds. Adding new IITs has made this problem more acute and hence the urgency of the matter,” he said in a statement.

[Source: Economic Times]
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38 thoughts on “Is even one of our institutions world class, asks Sibal”

  1. I totally agree with the comments and observations of Honorable Minister Jairam Ramesh but who should be blamed! This is first time, any Minister has dared to comment! Most of the time the Ministers never bothered and they go with the recommendations of the Scientific Advisors or their Secretaries. Is there any incentive for “research”?, do we have a good “award” and “reward” system in the country?. Same old people or their “followers” are sitting in decision making system. In the country, we have system,“you pat my back and I will pat your back”. In IITs system the young people try to do some research and publish papers to get promotion as Professor, once they become Professor not much incentive they see to continue their research. Even we do not have much incentives to SSB award recipients, once they get award they fulfill their dreams and start looking for administrative positions as a Vice-Chancellor or Director and look for fellowships of academies so that they get extra Rs. 15000 per month as part of the salary. Is there any accountability of these SSB award recipients or Academies Fellows, whether they continue their good research for which they were honored?.

    This is right time when we should have open debate to find out ways and means to improve our system so that faculty members who are excellent in doing research continue their work without caring for administrative positions. Why Professors who do good research work do not care much about the administrative positions in American universities? why in our country! This is only due to attractions in our country, even the young or senior faculty members start running to these administrators for getting small favor. We must try to improve “award/reward” system and promotion policy and also we must ask the Faculty members of IITs to earn their own money for atleast during summer vacation through research projects. The present system is whether you spend time in your office or stay home you will get your salary!

    I strongly believe that we must try to change our system so that we attract “good” people, and make the system so that they stay and realize that they have good working environment. But unfortunately this is not the case, in most of the institutions, when a person gives his frank and honest opinion the administrations do not like and the environment becomes hostile and good people leave their institutions!

  2. Obviously true!

    I worked as a faculty in IIT Kharagpur. My personal experience says that in most of the cases we are not serious about the problems. We just discuss about the person or the people who point out the problem. I would like to append my experience in one of the most prestigious departments in IIT Kharagpur. Please do not mind my English. Please read it to know the reality.

    1. For example, I was not allowed to talk in meetings because I was a junior.

    2. In another instance, the questions asked in the interview for PhD scholar selection were strange and one of the interviewer (my senior colleague, I was in the interview board) was laughing loudly and talking in mobile phone while taking the interview. I can say the date and name of the person if someone asks.

    3. There is no research group (especially in my department) and no regular group meeting is held for academic discussion.

    4. A few faculty seminars are held related to the research progress/achievements of the department faculty members.

    5. The student, department and the administration are parallel to each other. This means the problems of research scholar is not considered as a problem of the department and the problem of the department is not considered as a problem of the administration.

    6. One of the senior faculty members often use abusive languages in department meeting and try to frighten his juniors. He claims that he is well established (professor earning about Rs. 1 lakh per month as per 6th pay revision, PB-4).

    7. There is a strong regional feeling in all day to day matters like quarter allotment, laboratory and office space allotment. The local community is always the winner.

    8. The faculty quarters are very old and unhygienic. One has to very careful about water seepage and snakes during rainy seasons.

    9. There is no such system for periodical evaluation of ability and competency of a faculty member. The visiting faculty members (of course junior)are treated like slaves whose progress and ability is evaluated in terms of his speech (how sweet he/she can talk) not in terms of his research out put or teaching skill.

    10. The ERP system is not working properly. Sometimes the feedback of a group of students attending a particular core/elective course does not go to their instructor. It goes to somewhere else.

    11. If someone points out the problems he is blamed to have complaining attitude, irrespective of level of the complain (may be just once or several times).

    12. Especially, the research scholars are report oriented not result oriented. Thats the reason, the institute can’t have publication in higher impact factor journals in order to get a higher rank in the list of world class institutes.

    12. To me it looks like an institution without a System.

    If someone does not think all the above to be some of the serious problems with one of the most premier educational institutes, IIT Kharagpur, then he should not be serious about Hon’ble minister’s statement. He may consider Hon’ble minister’s statement to be just a ONE DAY NEWS ITEM which can be safely ignored by intellectuals of our great nation.

  3. For this the ministers should see the process of the recruitment of the people who are responsible for the mission and vision of the Institutions. The recruitment process of Directors/VC’s is so much politicised and involves so much lobbyling that the overall spirit of Instituion building is dead at the very bagining. Corrupt people are awarded with reappointments? What else we will have. Can we talk of world class Instituions in the current set up? Probably the minister sab is asking some invisible hand of GOD in India for the genesis of world class Institutions.

  4. IIMs and IITs need improve their research output and publications in Indexed International Journals, show patent generations etc much more. Cannot sit on past glory and achievments alone ;. Comments re this should be taken in a positive sense. They have the unique opportunity to connect with acdemia-industrry interactions and collaborations.
    Netherlands is an example of industry academia collaborations with scholarships for Ph D students of Erasmus, Utrecht universities.

    Prof.( Dr) James Thomas
    Vice Chancellor & Prof. Cardiac Surgery
    Padmashree Dr. D. Y. Patil University

  5. I think we should give up this obsession with the question of being ‘world class’ or not. In some cases, this may merely be a sign of dull(wittedness and approaching senility, and not of any serious concern for improvement of quality of research and teaching. However, it’s true that the infrastructure available in many insitutions of research and higher learning in India are deplorably poor. The libraries are grossly underequipped, the classrooms appear like ghettoes filled cobwebs, the condition of toilets is pathetic, the hostel messes are frequented by cockroaches, rats, and dogs. All this is because, the responsible authorities, for decades, have not cared about the basic state of existence of students, teachers and adminsitrators in academic institutions. It seems that on the part of the political managers, there is a desire to restrict the intellectual movement of the academic / scientific communities from attaining world statures, except when they want to derive some perverse benefit for themselves. The club of socially estranged and semi-literate ruling politicians continue to suppress all creativity in academic life, and they seem to turn to each other to enjoy their fiddles.

  6. I fully agree with the comments made by Dr. S. Selva Kumar, and I also appreciate him for disclosing the hard facts prevailing in almost all educational institutes and universities of our great country INDIA.

  7. es sibal ne indian education system ka satyanas kar diya. wrost human resource minister ever

  8. Any government institution in India can never become world-class. The reason is its ‘Caste’ based RESERVATION system without which the politics in India cannot survive.

  9. All issues aside, at least we have world class students!
    What has the Government done in the last sixty years, to create/bolster institutions that could appear in so called top 100 institutions? China seems to have arrived in that league in a short twenty/thirty years of conscious State effort.

    Maybe institutions have a case to free themselves of Govt. control and TLC, just like world class institutions like OX-Bridge, ivy league institutions etc., so that they can become world class. Then they can focus on producing more than world class students – maybe even world class faculty….they can also maybe convert some of the world class students to world class faculty (whose retiring salaries and lab resources can finally match the starting salaries/lab resources of graduating students!!)
    And maybe finally get at least one world class politician who can help create world class institutions ( primary job- governance: social institution creation and sustenance)… or is that too much to expect?

  10. Are the critics themselves world class, as a Minister or Politician or an expert in their own disciplines? If not, what steps have they taken to achieve the benchmark?
    Elitism is one of many factors that have plagued and vitiated development of higher and technical education in India. Why should we be burning all energy for IITs, IIMs leaving other Universities and National Institutions to develop by themselves with ever declining state support? The State should not follow discriminatory policies, for example, the central funding for state-aided universities are negligible compared to central universities. We need a National Policy framework for speedy reforms in academic matters and governance of all our H.E.I.s so that they move along a fast track growth trajectory and Peter does not get robbed by Paul. The MICs should note that their goal of setting up a few centres of excellance in an ocean of mediocrity can never succeed as the society in its entirety will create a pull to bring these favoured IITs etc. backwards.

  11. First of all I would like to ask who decides Top 100 or 150 institutions ? what are parameters for deciding such Top institutions? When a large number of students apply for a relatively small number of seats in an institution does it not become a very sought after institute( One of the Definition of Top Institute)? When product of such institute help to carry a huge populous poverty ridden state to become world leader does it not become a Top Institute? If the institute brings fame and wealth to the country,why should we not consider it a Top institute? Mr Jayram Ramesh studied way back in 1975 in an IIT, when Faculty may not be Top class but now most faculty in IIT are students of IIT and thus by observation proposed by Mr Jayram Ramesh, faculty is also a Top Class.
    Dr Prakash Vohra

  12. Its like asking the silly question whether any of our advocates are world class ?????????

  13. The comments made by Jairam Ramesh and Kapil Sibal are worthy of introspection and IIT and IIM faculty must view these in the right positive spirit for self improvement. Teaching is a noble profession and dedicated teachers do not run after money therefore it is not proper to link salary with quality of teaching. Professors are quite highly paid nowadays and enjoy relaxed lifestyle and excellent perks as compared to the industry or government jobs and do not have to undergo the same job stress and deadlines. IIT and IIM are run on tax payers money and must deliver value to the tax payers and Indian citizens by providing proper education which benefits the nation and not merely to send students abroad or to work in MNCs.

  14. Great! Like all else, ‘world class’ faculty is now a commodity that can be bought and sold across multinational counters with higher pay packets. I knew Jairam Ramesh was right. But didn’t know the self-obsessed elite in our country could be equally right in its ideology!

  15. Who is responsible for this? It is not the dirty politicians and the dirty political system and corruption which is responsible. Does the HRD minister, a politician become HRD minister have moral right to comment this way. Next, where are all the brightest people of the country going? They all go to countries like US because they are not given right opportunities here. All because of dirty politics in which system even the HRD minister is. Can HRD minister come out with policies to retain the best of the brains in the country?
    Inspite of all these, India’s ISRO is a role model for the best of the technological brains of the country. The Chandrayaan project’s success in the very first attempt (while US took 38 attempts and Russia took 25 attempts for a successful chandrayaan) with 11 payloads in one launch vehicle is simply marvellous. India/Indians are still at the top, inspite of……

  16. This kind of generalisation is not expected at all. I have seen teachers whose knowledge is immense but cannot impart the same to the students and they are suitable in research Institute. Moreover, what are the parameters are being considered to become first 100 or 200. Teachers had to go through rigorous selection process. If the teachers are not good then the selection process is wrong and it should be modified. When our bad teachers go outside India they become excellent.

  17. It was a great suffocation while working in a Govt.recognized AICTE approved privately managed institute.Faculties r harassed by the owners. Research in India is done to get promotion and few times for social reasons & innovation

  18. It is indeed saddening that politicians are commenting on Academicians. The selection process for academic positions especially in the Universities needs some introspection. The situation in state run Universities is worse even in the selection of VC’s which is often influenced by politicians. While there are some faculty members serving the Universities with distinction there are many who do not have a proper publication record. One cannot generalize things.There is no assessment on the part of the Teacher and there is no quality improvement program for the Faculty serving the higher education institutions. The state run Universities always have a pretext of shortage of funds hence the poor quality of teachers in the Universities. This can be solved only when the Higher Education is taken over by the Central Govt from the Concurrent list to Central List.

  19. Dear Shri Kapil Sibbal Ji,
    I am glad to know that ministers are thinking on quality intsitutions. In country IIT,s and IIM’s only addresses less than 2% of total educational institutions in the country who are providing education to the 98% young students of the nation. Are we having some plan to improve the quality eof education of educational institutions who are addressing 98% of the students in higher education. Why there is no autonomy in state running teaching insttitutions. Vice Chancellor are non academicians so they have virtually no plan to shape the institutions. Deans of faculty have no vision. In foriegn institutions deans are the main pillar of the teaching institutions. The appointment of dean should be done on open recruitment basis where the board should see the vision and mission of person who wish to be dean of academic affairs. In universitities dean of academic affairs are mere clerk and have hardly any contribution in shaping the quality of institutions. The faculty is always below standard as there is always substandard people being selected for teaching positions. So the suggestion is bring the governing practice of world class institutions to improve the quality of education in the country. We all wish that we should have quality institutions not only IIT’s and IIM’s even other institutions as well. Our school have become rotten. We are failing in attaracting talent who opt for teaching as career.

    So let us have a debate and set pannel to give recommendation for improvemnt of total education system right from schools to higher education. We all have to behave to become part of developed world.

  20. I dare to say one step ahead to make a comment, “India can achieve the standard of world class” at any time provided the political interferances are are stopped from grass-route level to the higher level, which I feel is a mere dream.
    Say few vivid examples:
    India is the only country in the world where we can see the one of the richest person of the world as well as a poorest person also.
    There is an institution of very high calibre faculty as well as an institution of very low calibre faculty, whereas both are drawing the same salary, same facilities and so on….
    An institution even not holding with a building called University,; an instiitution with all sorts of infrastructure is also called an University.
    ……… ………….. …………
    There are so many dissimilarities…., even though we are surviving and giving the challenges to the rest of the world…… , it’s only the prove that we can be the world class at any time, provided our political motivation are free from selfness.

  21. It has always been said that the salaries are not enough and that is why we are not getting good faculty. In my opinion we are facing this challenge not due to salary but due to the lack of commitment and research. All the faculty want more salary but their involvement and dedication has decreased . Teaching profession can be done only if you have the passion for that work and your aim should not be the salary alone.

  22. When Shri Sibbal jee asks whether any institute in India is world class, What does he mean by world class? What is the definition? What is the scale? who has decided the scale?
    Does he not know that numerous Indians are exhibiting and performing the best in all countries including USA, to the extent to create panic in President of USA. It is not the institute, its glamorous name and infrastructure that makes it world class. It is the passed outs’ performance. Indians have proved their gold in this reference. The institute should be provider of the environment for learning and not merely teaching. The students should be made to be sincere, hardworking, good natured and not criminals as found in western “So Called World Class institutions”
    Sibbal jee should have considered the realities of world class concept and then utter such insulting comments. Many institutes in India are “More than world class” They include not only IITs but very tiny institutes that provide the best and appriciable environment for learning and have more than world class teachers who transform their blood into water to educate and not only teach the students.
    Sibbal jee go and see. and you will be able to see once you wear a spectacle of patriotism.

  23. Teaching profession in India is highly under paid compared to the west. Teaching profession is very unattractive to the youth. Increase the taxation in the country by 2% and invest in teaching and sit and watch. We will have the best universities in the world.

  24. Dear sibal ji!!
    Recruitment procedure in the premier institute are malicious. the performance of Professors in any institute should be assessed by students and their results. Merely Writing a paper in Peer review journal should not be a basis for performance of prof. but in India, professor are engaged in doing projects not in teaching. Educational reforms are need of hour.
    UGC is not static in its amendments. for instance, M.phil candidates are not required to appear in UGC net exam as they are exempted. this procedure is changed so many times. This reflects that UGC is just a puppet in the hand of selfish politicians. Indian Educational Services like UPSC should be initiated to improve the quality of teacher and teaching. At last, i can say Bhai bhatija waad should be removed from the academics.

  25. As Mr.Rohit kumar remarked—“professor are engaged in doing projects not in teaching”
    Practically speaking in actual terms—such professors of IITs/NITs are wandering like BEGGARS hunting for projects in deptts (ready to sign on any design/and report). They have put them into shoes of those students having their father at key positions giving them jobworks (or say projects).
    This tendendency for hunting projects have become prevalent since 1990-95 and increasing day by day.
    Several professors (including IITs) have undertaken projects even beyond their own specialization as MONEY MINTING IS THEIR MOTTO.