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JU, BE upgrade if state lays off

Calcutta, Nov. 21: The ministry of human resource development has set its terms for upgrading Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering and Science University (earlier known as BE College) to IIT status and pumping in money for their development.

The ministry, which has expressed willingness to contribute Rs 300 crore to Jadavpur and Rs 900 crore to BE College every year, has let it be known to the state government that there cannot be any interference in their running.

Early next month, a ministry team will visit the institutions to decide if they should get IIT status.

“The system of governance in the IITs is considerably different from what happens in Jadavpur University and BE College,” Sudeep Banerjee, Union education secretary, said. “IITs enjoy much greater autonomy in academic and administrative matters. If these institutions are to be conferred IIT status, it is expected they will be permitted this autonomy.”

HRD officials said what this essentially means is that to begin with, the system of electing members to the governing bodies will have to be discontinued. They will be nominated, with the majority being Delhi’s share.

“With its tight grip on these institutions, the government and the CPM now ensure that their candidates are elected (to governing bodies). If the state government accedes to what Delhi is asking for, this will change.”

As in the IITs, the ministry wants to ensure that it is the institution’s director who has the final word on all academic and administrative matters.

It has also been explained that admissions will not take place through the state government-run joint entrance examination, but the test held for entering IITs.

Banerjee said if the government agreed to the conditions, the ministry would first give the institutions “deemed IIT status” for three years.

Thereafter, officials said, their progress would be assessed to decide if they should be granted IIT status.

State higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty said this was a “rare opportunity” and a “development we all welcome”.

“Since at the moment we provide almost the entire funds required by these two institutions, we have to examine all aspects, especially the financial one, carefully.”

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