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New IITs, IIMs on course for 2015 start

New Delhi, Aug. 23: The government seems to be in a tearing hurry to get the five new IITs and the half a dozen IIMs it announced in the budget up and running.

Admissions are set to start from the 2015-16 academic session, according to communications the human resource development ministry has sent to the governments of 10 states where the proposed IITs and the IIMs would come up.

The 10 are Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra.

The six Indian Institutes of Management will come up in Himachal, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, coastal Andhra and Maharashtra. Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Goa, coastal Andhra and Kerala will host the Indian Institutes of Technology.

According to the plan, the nearest older IIMs and IITs will mentor and manage the new institutes till their directors are appointed, a process that takes up to six months. IIM Calcutta, for example, will mentor the proposed B-school in Odisha.

The mentor institutes will be asked to find out temporary facilities where the new ones would be housed till they get permanent campuses. If no temporary campus is available, the mentor institute will host the new one on its campus.

Students will be admitted to the new IIMs through the 2014 Common Admission Test, to be coordinated by IIM Indore later this year. Each of the new IIMs will have around 50 seats in postgraduate programmes. The 13 IIMs now have around 4,000 PGP seats. Together with the new IIMs, the number of seats could go up to 4,300, sources in the HRD ministry and IIM Indore said.

The ministry has asked public-sector undertaking Education Consultancy India to prepare a detailed project suggesting areas the new institutes should focus on. Once it gets the project report, the ministry would move a note for cabinet approval — possibly sometime early next year — so that it can start the process of appointing the directors.

The ministry has written to all the states concerned asking each to provide 200 acres free for the IIMs and 500 acres for the IITs. The Punjab government has proposed two sites near Amritsar for the IIM.

The Institute of Technology Act will have to be amended for including the new IITs under the law. The 16 existing IITs now offer 10,000 BTech seats. With the five new ones coming up, the number of seats could go up to 10,500 next year.

Some academics cautioned against opening institutions in a hurry. Professor P.M. Bhargava, former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, said the government should focus more on improving school education. “I have travelled in some 60 countries and looked at their education system. There is no country in the world where the school education system is in a shambles but their higher education system is commendable.”

Others said over 90 per cent of graduates in all areas, including science, technology and management, are unemployable. That is because the foundation of both teachers and the taught is, on an average, extremely poor, Bhargava said. “Where would the government get really qualified people for the proposed new IITs and the IIMs?”

IIT Kanpur chairman M. Anandkrishnan supported the government’s initiative. The institutes would grow after they are started, Anandkrishnan said, adding that lack of adequate infrastructure and faculty couldn’t be a ground for not starting new institutes.