IIT, IIM faculty not world-class: Jairam Ramesh

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has slammed the faculty of the country’s
premier institutions IITs and IIMs. The minister said that these educational
institutions are “not world class” but are “excellent”
because of the quality of students only.

“There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs. The faculty in
the IIT is not world class. It is the students in IITs who are world class. So
the IITs and IIMs are excellent because of the quality of students not because
of quality of research or faculty,” said Ramesh, who is himself an alumni
of IIT Mumbai.

Talking about his ministry’s decision to have a joint venture with Reliance
Industries Limited (RIL) to set up a National Centre for Marine Biodiversity in
Jamnagar, Ramesh said the decision was taken as a world class research centre
cannot be built in a “Governmental set up” and can never attract
young people.

“We cannot build a world class research centre in a Governmental set
up. The governmental set up can never attract young people. Never. Let us
understand our experience in the last 60 years. Government research
institutions can never attract young talent.

“So we want to think differently. We have to think differently, how we
are going to organise our research institutions. And this is one way of
building PPP,” Ramesh said.

“So I have been to Jamnagar and we are in a PPP mode. We are having a
joint venture with Reliance to set up a world class national centre for marine
biodiversity,” he said.

Jamnagar is also the site of India’s first marine national park, the
Minister said. This would be a new centre that would be focussed exclusively on the
conservation of our marine biodiversity, Ramesh said.

Jairam Ramesh has been the Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge) for
Environment and Forests since May 2009. He was also a member of the first
National Advisory Council, 2006-2008. Ramesh graduated in 1975 from the Indian
Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) with a B. Tech. in Mechanical
Engineering. In 2001, IIT-B presented him with their Distinguished Alumnus

Between 1975-77 he studied at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College and
received a Master of Science in Management and public policy. In 1977-78, at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he studied technology policy,
economics, engineering, and management, as part of the newly-established
inter-disciplinary technology policy programme.

He is a founding member of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad and is
a member of the International Council of the New York-based Asia Society.
Ramesh has been an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chinese Studies, New
Delhi since 2002. Ramesh has been a columnist for leading dailies like the
Business Standard, Business Today, The Telegraph, Times of India and India

[Source: Sify]



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125 thoughts on “IIT, IIM faculty not world-class: Jairam Ramesh”

  1. Jairam Ramesh will achieve nothing by such statements. What is his definition of world class? What research is he seeking?
    He says “Govt can never attract talent ..” – does government pay the best in class to attract them? Why should talented persons join here when they are offered far better remuneration and work conditions? If Jairam Ramesh wants this to change, he should first show actions which will lead to the change.
    “World class Research …” – do you need more men on the moon or technology that will reach and impact the bottom of the pyramid? Can research alone change our country or is it’s implementation the job of governance? How many inventions of IIT students has the government diffused into the society?
    “Our students are great; not faculty ..” – is this his opinion or has his office conducted a ‘research’ with 10000 alumni of IITs?
    “So we want to think differently. We have to think differently…” – Will he also talk about actions? Or will it be limited to “thinking differently” ?

    Jairam Ramesh should know better than make such destructive criticism comments. Mr. Ramesh – Fix it if you think you know the problem and have a solution. If Mr. Ramesh cant fix it, then give your solution to those who can fix it. Making such public statements will only give him applause, and a re-election.

  2. I congratulate Mr Jairam Ramesh for his truthful comments on the state of premier institutions. He has called a spade a spade and his observations are correct. What has happened to grant able institutions today. Bright students come because the fees are low and they excel because the students are good. The so called faculty takes the credit for the good results.
    The Government must encourage scholars/ researchers to take up teaching assignments rather than appoint persons with so called required qualifications but no aptitude for teaching.
    One can imagine the state of IITs & IIMs ….. what is the state of other institutions (Includes all types of Universities)

  3. I fully concur with the views of Mr Jairam Ramesh on IITs and IIMs. If they are really world class why they are not listed in the top 100 universities of the world universities? IIT faculties may attribute hundreds of reasons for not being listed in world’s top 100 universities, but they are all not convincing. IITs are known for B.Tech education only and not for research, leave alone worthwhile research. This B.Tech education guarantees the degree holder to go to US easily. In short our IITs have produced graduates with tax-payers money to supply world class graduates to US job market. The IIT education system is elitist in nature and only students from upper class families find their way into the system through expensive coaching centres in the country. It should be noted that the majority of the faculties in IITs are themselves the products of our university system or from foreign universities. Unfortunately in India a PhD from a third rate foreign university is valued more in the recruitment process than a PhD from Indian universities with good research record. According to a recent estimate, our IITs are operating with 40% of the faculty strength. The remaining 60% is lying vacant because qualified faculties are unavailable. If this is so what about the 40% incumbent faculty which is not world class? In short IITs were created with the tax money of Ayah Rams and Gaya Rams and they should serve the aam aadhmi of the country first before venturing into world class status.

  4. As a country we need to be ambitious enough to accept to have a world class institute. World class means, most if not all the faculty are scientists or engineers who work on contemporary research and recognized as one of the top researchers in the world. If we introspect honestly, on average most of the faculty are at best “WORLD FAMOUS in INDIA”. no one knows them beyond their institutions. Time has come to HIRE a management consultant to evaluate our system and come up with recommendations to maximize efficiency. Evaluating ourselves about our performance would end up, as always, scratching each others back.

  5. I have been saying this for about three decades – since I left IIT – which I found not worthwhile to stick to any longer. But who listens!

  6. In contrast to engineering , PGI chandigarh(top medical institute) does not permit to appear in PrePG/PreDM exam for any doctor HAVING AVAILED EXTRA ATTEMPT.
    Whereas Our IITs M.Tech/PhDs students are flooded with attempters(having several backpapers during B.E.). IITs having crunch of students have been accepting ATTEMPTERS (with no upper limit maximum number of attempts of B.E.)
    Mr. JaiRam Ramesh should give credit to only graduate students of IIT/IIMs as attempters students pursuing PG/PhDs are almost of same category as of faculty .

  7. Being an insider I could not disagree with Jairam’s comment. I agree that we have not matched the standards of MIT, UCL or Harvard in terms of research output. At the same time let us also agree that this is what we have in India in the name of ‘best’. Therefore, if the IIT/IIM teachers are considered mediocre then we will also have to agree that we Indians are mediocre. With regard to IIMs, I’ll say that in spite of being academically very meritorious (look at the academic background of IIM A/B/C faculty) they do not do any research. Somehow, being a faculty at one of the IITs I also do not subscribe to the argument that IIT grads are the only meritorious students in India. If we buy this argument then we will also have to believe that in a country of 120Cr. we produce only 8000 bright students every year. India is obviously not so poor in terms of intellectual capabilities. You will hear comments like, ‘IIT grads are the best’ from people like Jairam who believe on such wrong believes. I have taught students whom I’ll call as ‘average but trained students’. Obviously, we get a large number of gifted students. Compare 1st year students of IITs, Jadavpur, Anna University, NIT Trichy – you will have to struggle to find some difference. Compare the final year students in these institutions you will find a lot of difference. So 4 year stay at IITs makes a difference in one’s life. The difference comes not from class rooms only but also from the environment. I’ll call IITs rather as an ecosystem of learning.
    Coming to research, ask any good researcher in science and engineering on the best place to carry out their research in India – a majority of them will answer the IITs (obviously IISc will be more preferred destination because of their research focus). This is in spite of the fact that IITs were traditionally focusing on the undergraduates. They have started giving some serious thought to postgraduate and doctoral studies only in the beginning of this century. And the results of this focus shift are encouraging. Now, you see a large number of publications in various international journals and patents. However, still the research in IITs may be called as routine research and it will take some 10/15 years to actually do some great research. What IITs expect is cooperation from the government bodies and the industry (not just funding). A challenging task will be to attract good faculty especially in the areas of social sciences. Believe me, 15 years from now, IIT grads will be equally proud of the brand ‘IIT’ as well as its faculty.

  8. I am not surprised by this comment, coming from an IIT BTech of the
    1975 vintage. That was the time when the IIT undergrad was just
    being recognized as the best slave-labour material in American grad
    schools and hence his popularity back home was rising, but at the
    same time, the IITs were largely equipping themselves with faculty
    who had BTechs/MTechs from elsewhere and without PhDs, so the general
    feeling was that the student was superior to the faculty (this was,
    sadly, acknowledged by many faculty members themselves). The whole
    thing about comparing student versus faculty intelligence levels is
    in itself sad, mad, and bad, in the first place. That apart, the
    problem is that most of those belonging to that generation of IITians
    have never offered themselves an opportunity in the present day to
    correct their old perception, and hence it has largely remained
    fossilized. This is the problem with having an undergraduate
    programme as the flagship programme of an institution. We end up
    getting flagged by these guys! We are counting on the success of
    immature teenagers for our success, and when (not if) their success
    goes to their head, they unfortunately remain immature long past their teenage!


    Remember, 5 fingers are not equal… There are some favoritism during selection of faculties based on regional politics (IITKGP, IIMC prefer BANGALI), Caste Poltics(IITM prefers Tamil Brahmin), Directors preference, External members’ preference, inbreeding, and so many unwanted factors are there for non-deserving candidates to enter these elite institutes…So, it will not be world class…Fortunately, Govt. has not forced strictly SC/ST/OBC quota in these elite institute..Otherwise, it would be HELL for students….

    Do not expect 100% world class teachers by paying them Clerks’s salary of so called WORLD CLASS countries…


    If IIT students were world class, then all IITs might be WORLD CLASS now….
    to enter

  10. PPP to LOOT and Bankrupt India by the Globalist Oligarchs:

    The UPA is using “EXCUSES” to usher in PPP in ALL Fields.This is the trick of the Globalist to convert the Indian Democratic Republic into an Oligarchy where the middle class and the poor become SLAVES of the RICH Globalist ELITE Oligarchs,who will Bankrupt the nation by STEALING and transferring the National Wealth to themselves.
    Please google for “PPP”.

  11. From statement of Jairam Ramesh and his colleagues, including Sonia and MMS, on range of issue including corruption, would seem to suggest that they are opposition. When the fact is that not only have been in government for seven years, but have ruled India for fifty odd years. There is a saying that they are in power but don’t know how to govern. These imbecilic statement from party members, that too cabinet ministers in power apart from sapping public morale also demonstrate lack of creating thinking, poor administrative skills and inability to utilize available levers of power to implement reforms required to improve poorly performing sectors. This hand waving is truly shameless exercise in futility and needs to be resisted.

  12. Government funding to these institutions is a tiny fraction of its annual budget (IITs get about 100 crores, which is minuscule compared to 953,231 crore government expenditure).

    That said, I agree with the minister Ramesh’s point that the faculty at these elite institutions are not world class. That does not mean we should destroy IITs, but instead we should strive to improve the quality of the faculty there. I also agree that there should be a penalty on students who get subsidized education and decide to leave the country.

  13. Mr. Ramesh,
    To achieve world class in research, you (the Government) should devise an effective incentive system. Incentives begin with good salary and should be based on performance. Academic research is not a 9-5 job. It takes a great level of hardwork, dedication and sacrifice over several years to work on one’s Masters, doctoral degree and research. Do you think that a paltry renumeration of Rs. 39,000/month (typical for an Asst. Prof with a PhD and 3-year experience) is enough ? Do you expect the faculty to donate their well-being and prosperity for the sake of your (government’s) incompetence while billions are stashed elsewhere ? What an irony ?
    Moreover, in all developed countries, the academic research is incubated through government grants and research programs (e.g. National Academy of Sciences). Funding does not mean “free lunch and giveaways” but a business model for academic institutions to cater public’s short term and long term needs in return for their funding needs. Is there a system here ? Rather our system is constantly meddled by these “half-baked”, “clue-less” politicians. Until you fix these structural problems, why can’t you SHUT UP ? We don’t need your callous rambles.

  14. Selection of IIT faculty membership is not something which is ever done in transparent manner. Every and I repeat every faculty member of the so-called IITs is selected when they are doing their Ph.D. or post-doc abroad thru their respective god-fathers, no matter how hopeless and worthless they are. An eye-wash type interview is taken in India which is disgusting and humiliating for the best qualified persons from India. This is the case with all IITs and DST/CSIR labs. Only people who have gone thru this process can appreciate this issue. IIT-Students will hardly realize the gravity of the situation through which real worthless candidates are brought as faculties. And this is the system going on since the NCL and IIT/kharagpur were established. It is a national shame that we have nothing to feel good about the “esteemed” faculty of IITs and CSIR/RRL labs.

  15. World class facilities for scientiic research and world class faculty exist in several world class universities and institutes of technology – like Stanford, Caltech, MIT. Many of their faculties have Nobel laureates and are proud to list Nobel prize winners who are their alumni. This culture is missing, and worse, this fact itself does not seem to matter to us as people or our govt. The culture of research and development is itself a travesty – more a routine drudgery than anything for achieving great results. China with even a slightly larger humongous population than ours, produces Nobel researchers more often and of course, research discoveries and technologies which are at the back of hardware industries (meaning, as distinct from software) have become relevant in China. India as long as its youth is given to frivolties like cricket and bollywood and is even nonchalant towards or even unappreciative of, its own great men and its great traditions, has to make momentous changes in education. This does not seem likely in a foreseeable future, though, if present trends are any guidance. Our research activities continue to be obscured by too much red tape and regional politics, to cite what the latest Nobel laureate (in chemistry) of Indian origin says. China boasts of its five millennia old culture – which drives its economic boom to world power status, even in its diplomatic activities. It is doubtful whether our diplomats have any asset other than English speaking.

  16. Ramesh’s govt is responsible for the state of affairs:

    It is the central govt soaked neck deep in corruption and scandals and that has Ramesh as Minister is responsible for the state of affairs. What is the level of autonomy that IIT, I.I.M., I.I.Sc enjoy as compared to what other world class varsities enjoy? With all these indirect controls and influences of govt for quota for less qualified students not based on merit, regulation of fees beyond practical limits, non-transparent research proposals, funding and outcomes are responsible? How many reports of research funded by public money at IITs, IIMs, IIScs are put online for greater good of the public and other competing researchers? Only a handful of influential faculty grab the lion’s share of public funding for research.

  17. Jairam Ramesh is right;
    our IIT and IIM’s standards have
    gone down.

    If they were made to hear
    lecture from Lallu Prasad Yadav,
    MKS Narendra Modi
    Nishit Kumar;
    one can understand thier standards.

    Yes, definately we need to
    role-up our sleeves and set things right
    by scalling up by
    getting best of the brains in

    MBA education also has become a
    money minting business
    with Ambani’s and other
    scruplous business houses making
    education as profitable business.

  18. t is simply mockery of Indian governance and Democracy. If a Controlling Officer/Authority criticizes his/her own/Department working, we praise the the Authority with such words “He is clean. He honestly accepts the committed mistakes” and next day we forget it just to repeat the same mistake in future!The World Top Most Universities reporting has been clearly indicating IITs/IIMs are not world class institutes as none of them appear among the first 300 lot. India is world class country without world class education. The causes “Chalata Hai!”, faculty recruitment: merit on the back seat, offer him/her PhD as s/he is recommended by so and so, etc. Can you imagine one of the IITs offered PhD in Humanities to an Officer having Engineering Post Graduate Degree (do not make a mistake to see the thesis, you will cry), one of the VCs pressurized (to be a VC) IIT to offer good remarks for PhD thesis… Who are responsible? Why to pamper students saying these are brilliant students and no credit to faculty? These so called brilliants have promoted parallel economy in the country depriving millions others in the country. Should not we be focused in the national interests? India has hardly 400 universities while Japan and US have over 4000 and 3800 universities respectively.

  19. Given the funds and salaries…Faculty is world class
    by sumit bose (View MyPage) on May 23, 2011 05:27 PM | Hide replies

    Given the funds for research that you make available and the pitiable salaries that you offer to the IIT/IIM faculties in comparison to what their counterparts get, and given the challenges that they face of working out of India, I think they have done a commendable job. Their research output may not be anywhere comparable to what is produced by US/Chinese univs..but is the investment/salaries/incentives in higher education comparable? How do you expect then? Whatever these faculties have till now produced is on their own zeal and going against the system that always tries to pull them down. Have you forgotten Dr. Subhas Mukherjee, who though NOT an IIT/IIMian but neverthless was Indian and is the best example of how Indian system works? IIT/IIM too have many such faculties who produce at their own expense (could have earned millions if they were in the US/EU) but have received little support from Ramesh’s ministries and Indian system!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But Politicians wants technology transfer where they will have the percentage…like defense deals…BOFORS

  20. Minister is right in saying that IITs and IIMs are not world class institutions. Well, there is no way they can be! No institution can be world class if the Government meddles in the affairs of the institutions. IITs are autonomous only in name. The actual fact is that it is the Government which decides about what courses IITs should teach; it is the Government which decides the admission procedure, the level of papers in the admission test, number of students that should be admitted, so on and so forth. So much so, that now the government advises how many Ph.D.s should be produced in a year! It is the government which holds the purse strings and there is no financial independence at all. In March 2011, the government suddenly decided that the contingency amount admissible to M.Tech./Ph.D. students be discontinued w.e.f. 1.4.2010!!! Does the minister know that the IITs have not yet received the grants for the current financial year even though it is end of May? Does the minister know that IITs have not been able to purchase a single thing during the last two months because of the resulting financial crunch? Does the minister know that IITs have become just another government department and have to purchase sophisticated equipment on the basis of L-1, although it might be worthless? Does the minister know that all the IITs have an acute shortage of faculty and, on top of that, the class strengths have gone up 54% resulting in an increased work load on the faculty? For attracting world class faculty, you have to provide a type of research atmosphere, work satisfaction and academic freedom that is prevailing in the so-called world class institutions. Have we been able to do that in our Institutes? Indians researchers in USA, UK, Europe are able to produce world class research because of academic freedom and an invigorating environment that is made available to them, while an Indian Professor has to waste a considerable amount of time to fight the system even for purchasing consumable items required for his research!! If one wants to kill the research potential of person who is doing well abroad, the only thing that you have to do is to somehow bring him back to India. Us Indians are strong believers in “quantity” and not in “quality” and that is what we are producing as is evident by the large number of technical institutions and new Universities that have proliferated during the last ten years. Who bothers whether these institutes and Universities have the required faculty and infrastructure? Who bothers whether the students produced by these institutes are employable or not?

    So far as the quality of students is concerned, if good talent is not nurtured by the IITs, after four years it would become junk. So IIT faculty must at least be putting up some effort in nurturing these young minds if they are doing well in the current world scenario!! On the other hand, what effort is being put up by the powers that be except for opening new Institutes North and South, East and West without bothering about whether the required faculty and infrastructure is in place or not!!

  21. Clever Hon’ble Minister Jairam Ramesh! He knows theres always some truth in such statements and what better way to hit the limelight once again than bashing the country’s white elephants – one striking thing though: IITs ARE a “government setup” and the Hon’ble Minister must accept they are attracting “the best young talent” at the UG level – how come?

  22. Agree with honorable Minister that our Institution …etc are not world class
    but what are the affort to be done to improve that ?????
    is our whole system does not require to modify ?/
    yes socially, econmically and above all politically also
    we respect honorable minister’s statement and hope they will initiate some good effort to correct or chanange according to world class status

  23. Its personal view of ramesh we can not say this type of remark on IIM
    -IIT faculty because they selected through a proper channel in which
    some mamber from goverment body so there is also a question on it .

  24. It was very shocking and painful to hear the derogatory comments of the Honorable Minister who it appears is an alumni of IIT to the public media. One percent cream of the student population of India enter the IITS, no doubt. This is a population of youngsters who know how to study ,who are capable of hard work and academic excellence and have a sharp understanding and intellect .As they are so clever and intelligent ,the task of teaching such bright students is an equally challenging task.When a IIT faculty goes to teach a class of such bright students the teacher must have a very good grasp of the subject and also awareness of the hot topics of the field in order to answer the umpteen questions raised by these youngsters , enthuse them and pull them up to greater heights . Therefore if the faculty of IITs and IIMS are attracting such brightest students of India to join IITs or IIMs , one can understand what a high level of intellectual capacity these faculty must be possessing to manage such students. In other words it needs a very clever person to manage some very clever trainees under him.The intellectual strength and capacity of the IIT faculty must therefore by simple logic be much higher than that of the students the faculty teaches or guides for research. Alas ! because of the meager pay scales provided by the Ministry to these faculty and the quiet academic nature of their duties confined to labs and class rooms , the public does not come to know of their talents.While the faculty earn a parsley maximum pay of 79000 per month that too after many years of service and with very few perks ,the students trained by them straightaway earn not less then 2-3 lakhs per month in the outside job market within 2-3 years.Because of such cushy jobs and money power , I think some of these alumni like the minister in the present case are high headedly kicking the ladder that enabled them to climb to the positions they hold today . While the diamond (student ) shines, the diamond cutter (faculty ) has to bear such insults from the honorable ministers.If the IITS are closed than the society will know whether they missed the diamond in their hands. Why is it that these bright students do not want to join other Institutions if the faculty is better than IITs or IIMs? Why is it that these private institutions drive their student very pathetically to do projects outside their institute and especially are sending them to IITs for their research projects . Is there no place better than IIT ? All these facts speak for themselves that the IITs and IIMs are the very best that one can aspire for in this country flooded with corrupt government ministers. The idea of starting institutions on public -private basis like marine diversity etc without involving institutions like IITs in such research already is a forerunner of events like another 2G scam. It is better that the government administrators do not heap insults on the already injured IIT faculty who hold the torch of knowledge. If IITs are demoralized by such unkind remarks and loose talk , they are undoing the work of such great respected leaders like Pandit Nehru. One cannot put together these institutions and it will be the end like Humpty -Dumpty could not be put together again. Bigger scams in education and academics is being instigated by these politicians , after the IT and 2G scams .

  25. Really Mr.Jairam Ramesh (alumani of IIT Mumbai) deserves to be HRD minister as well as Science&Technology minister rather than our myopic Mr.Kapil sibal (having no scientific background nothing to do with science&technology) always STRESSING TO PROLIFERATE MORE AND MORE GARBAGE ENGG COLLEGES,UNIVERSITIES —-without placing maximum limit on number of attempts of B.E./non-disclosure of attempts in as in Medical education

    AICTE since formation in 1945&HRD ministry till date placed no limit over maximum number of permissible attempts of faculty in engineering i.e. only 60% sufficient irrespective of number of attempts during B.E. Such attempter faculty have also intruded in IITs also.

    So IITs are flooded with attempters churning out M.Tech./PhDs . If IIT is really serious over raising standards of research(as Hon’ble minister remarked), it should place MAXIMUM LIMIT ON ATTEMPTS/BACKPAPERS OF B.E. for admission in M.Tech./PhD Or maximum years taken in completing AMIE.

    Thanks Hon’ble Minister Mr.Jairam Ramesh for having deeply meditated over dismal state of IITs now.

  26. This is a personal view of ramesh we can not say this type of remark on IIM
    -IIT faculty because they selected through a proper channel, because most of the students are not so good in quality,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,