Friday, December 3, 2010

Governance of the IITs/Universities/ NITs

London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) University Rankings — the most reputed annual global rankings of academic institutions does not include any Indian institution among top 50 institutions. Four Chinese universities figure in the list of the world’s best 50 educational institutions, with the University of Cambridge claiming top spot. IIT Bombay, the best among Indian institutions, is at No. 187, down from No. 163 in 2009. What is it that our institutions lack?

India happens to be one of the most vibrant democracy. In spite of large scale illiteracy, time and again citizens have shown maturity to root out ineffective governments.Yet academic institutions are run in the the most undemocratic manner.
Every institution expect the faculty to do world class research, generate resources through research project grants and consultancy but fails to deliver basic facilities like a descent place to sit and study , clean well equipped class rooms and access to computing facilities.

There is no system of corporate governance, with no place for stakeholder participation in key decisions,lack of transparency in the way they are managed with no incentive for merit.Situation is alarming in the case of IITs and central universities as well where successive ministers have tried to enforce their own agenda. At the level of institutions Vice Chancellors run their dictate.There is no provision for mid term review of the way they conduct academic administration.In the corporate sector , often questions are raised about the conduct of independent directors on the board of management but why governing councils of the IITs/ NITs and central university have not been able to transform the way our system works ? And no one seems to give a damn about the way our higher education system is being governed. Instead we keep opening new central universities, IITs, IIMs and even appoint commissions to work out innovative formula for starting Universities of Innovation !

Bhopal Disaster

Worldwide people would pay tribute to those struck by Bhopal disaster on the 26th anniversary of the world’s worst industrial disaster today while climate change is being discussed at Cancun. Japan has said no to extension of Kyoto protocol. It said if India and China are not legally bound to cut their emission levels. why should it make such a commitment? In India, We have always maintained the line that our per capita emission is far below USA and Japan so we can follow a development model where sustainability and climate change can take a back seat.Industrial safety even today is matter of concern. Last year in October there was a massive explosion in Indian Oil Corporation depot at Jaipur. I still wonder if we have drawn any lessons out of one of the most terrible industrial disasters or we are doing the lip service to this cause of clean and safe life for all?