Diploma to degree hope for IIMs - HRD ministry works with B-schools to change course name

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By BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY
  • Published 4.12.11
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New Delhi, Dec. 3: Those passing out of IIMs may finally get an MBA degree, a ubiquitous tag denied to them by a legal limitation.

The human resource development ministry is exploring ways to give statutory status to the elite B-schools so they can change the nomenclature of their courses from diplomas to degrees. If that happens, PG Diploma in Management (PGDM) will become MBA and fellowship will turn PhD.

Minister Kapil Sibal has asked officials to consult the IIMs and suggest the best possible solution to enable the business schools to break the jinx of having remained diploma-awarding institutions since their inception in the 1960s.

Unlike universities or IITs, the B-schools cannot give degrees, despite being known for their quality teaching in India and abroad, as they have not been set up by an act of Parliament, nor do they enjoy deemed university status.

The IIMs have been set up as societies under the Societies Registration Act. Only universities and university-equivalent institutions such as IITs, which have been set up by an act of Parliament or state legislatures, or deemed universities under the UGC Act can grant degrees.

The PGDM is considered equivalent to MBA and fellow programmes to PhD.

IIM teachers feel the discrepancy in the nomenclature could be a possible reason why few foreign students opt for the institutes. “The word diploma has a different connotation. The normal practice the world over is an MBA course. With respect to the rigour, our PGDM course is no less than the MBA or degree courses offered by universities. The discrepancy in the name could be a reason for the small number of foreign students taking admission in our institutes,” said IIM Kozhikode director Debashis Chatterjee.

An ideal solution, he said, could be to bring an MBA University Bill in Parliament to make all IIMs statutory bodies. This will also facilitate more co-operation among the IIMs and help them expand their activities into areas like training programmes for education leaders, NGO professionals and others.

The issue was discussed at a meeting between Sibal and IIM chairpersons and directors on November 2. The minutes of the meeting, a copy of which is in possession of The Telegraph, suggest that Sibal asked his officials to prepare a bill that empowers the IIMs to give degrees.

“The degree-granting power may be more beneficial for the new IIMs which have started functioning in recent years. The older IIMs have got recognition the world over,” said IIM Ahmedabad director Samir Barua.

The director of newly started IIM Raipur, B.S. Sahay, said only the nomenclature of the courses would change in line with international practices, not their content or quality. “The courses of IIMs are already qualitatively high. Only the names may change.”

An expert committee set up by the ministry under educationist Madhava Menon has also favoured giving the IIMs the authority to grant degrees. But even after the change in their status, the IIMs can continue their short-term executive programmes and other certificate courses.