For the B-School story, we talked to several educationists and deans of business schools across the country to understand if the move by the government would result in dilution of the IIM brand or would it be beneficial to the other B-Schools? Here is what they had to say:
Dr. Bala Balachandran, Director, Great Lakes Institute of Management
From the government perspective, it is a good idea for every state to have an IIM/IIT. However, the question is not whether you put the cart before the horse or the horse before the cart. To be able to drive the cart, we need to have faculty, which is recognized, and put in a framework to nurture more educators. Unless we have quality faculty, it will further lead to disparity with rich students taking up education in foreign universities and average students suffering mediocre standards of education.
Even in existing IIMs, students with varying levels of abilities join as they have to reserve many seats for backward caste students. The industry wants the best quality for the money they are spending and without employable skills some students don’t get placed despite an IIM education. Extending the present brand might work but it will cause a dilution of the image as well. It might be a good idea to look at privatization in the education sector. It will bring international practices as well as good faculty from abroad into the country. If someone has an innovative model, which will promote education and job creation, the government can back them up. It will be about creating a new legacy rather than extending an older brand.
Dr. Amit Gupta, Chairman, Jagannath International Management School
The quality of business management education delivered by IIMs has suffered in recent times because almost 50 per cent of students are admitted on considerations other than merit i.e. under special quotas reserved for SC, ST and OBCs. This has diluted teaching standards at IIMs. Moreover, for political reasons, the new IIMs have been located far away from industry centers thus restricting their interaction and interface with the industry. Hence, increase in the number of IIMs will neither contribute towards enhancing their image nor the quality of education imparted by them unless they take steps to diminish the impact of these two drawbacks.
Apart from creation of five new IIMs and IITs each, the central government’s Budget (2014-15) provides for setting up a number of Universities and Centers of Excellence in areas of humanities, agriculture, horticulture, medicine etc. A significant inclusion is the facilitation of education loans for higher studies. This is important, as a large population of students from non-IIM, private B-Schools who finance their studies by availing bank loans, could immensely benefit if government scholarships were provided to them on a need-cum-merit basis. A large number of such graduating students prefer to return to their rural roots and make careers in neglected sectors of agriculture and social entrepreneurship. The government should invest in providing a larger quantum of aid to existing B-schools rather than construct more IIMs in remote areas where the quality of education will always remain dubious due to lack of industry interaction and interface.
Dr. Sanjeev Bansal, Director, Amity Business School
The new IIM campuses are missing a number of essential facilities so the focus should be on upgrading the existing institutes rather than setting up more campuses. IIMs have no dearth of talent, but there are a number of faculty positions vacant. Also there is very less research happening for institutes of this caliber. This is a clear indicator of the condition the IIMs are in.
In total, there are only 44 state universities, 700 degree colleges and 35500 affiliated colleges in the country. In comparison, there is a student enrollment requirement of over 20 million. If there wasn’t any privatization, a number of students would have been devoid of education.
The educational environment is changing across the globe and Indian education needs to keep pace with that. In a government structure, there are a lot of restrictions and very less flexibility to ensure quick changes in curriculum or better industry exposure. This needs to change. Talking about Amity, we have introduced Choice Based Credit System in our curriculum, which a number of big universities and colleges in India are still considering. As a private university, we have the privilege to change and improve topically. This should be mirrored in the top Indian government institutes as well.
Dr. B Karunakar, Director, NMIMS
A brand gets created by the system of value creation that you engineer over a period of time. It is the system of academic rigor, corporate interface & placements, alumni relations and the supporting administration that creates the brand. It takes time to build an institution and brands are not created overnight. As India further grows and develops, there would be a need for more quality manpower in engineering/technical and managerial and there is scope both for newer IIT/IIMs as well as private engineering/B-schools.
The education department should study the educational systems in USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, Brazil, China etc and derive learning inputs for reforms to be carried out while keeping in mind our needs for the future. The new policies that would evolve should seek inputs from the experts, consultants and the relevant stakeholders.
Universities should have the autonomy of administration with minimal interference from the state or central governments or the UGC. The need of hour is to introduce reforms, decentralization and autonomy at all levels. The United Kingdom, after which we had designed our system, did away with its UGC more than two decades ago and is highly decentralized today. In our context, UGC and governments will have to turn into facilitators rather than masters of universities. The secret of success of the US universities, both public and private, is that they are fiercely competitive.
Dr. Pritam Singh, Director, IMI Delhi
Branding doesn’t have any value, it is the quality that matters. When a new college or institution opens up, no one talks about the quality it presents. Even the industry is not doing anything to promote quality education. The last wave of IIMs are still suffering from faculty shortage and lack of industrial exposure that is essential for business education. Instead of being regional colleges, IIMs should become national institutes, which promote nationhood and have a mix of students from all over the country.
We need to create policies with a holistic perspective. We need to have an evaluation mechanism to measure the quality/standard of education in all our institutes considering that we barely figure in any international rankings. Currently, there is no such body. There are many non-performing assets in the educational system. The government should focus on supporting existing colleges and help them attain international standards and aim at having about 10-12 world level institutes in each field.
Prof. Ramesh Behl, Director, IMI, Bhubaneswar
The increase in the number of IIM/IITs is leading to dilution of quality at such premier educational institutions. The government has a vision to create quality institutions in all states, but they should also support established public and private institutions that are providing quality education for decades, sometimes even better than many of the newer IIT/IIMs. The government should consider developing a criteria for recognizing such institutions and supporting them for the purpose of quality education.
The government should focus on developing world-class institutions, that can attract students, faculty and research from across the globe. It also needs to play a catalytic role integrating the industry with institutions of higher learning. Industry associations such as FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM need to support the government in making India the “Best Educational Hub” in the World.
Sanjay Padode, Secretary, Center for Developmental Education, Institute of Finance and International Management
The government is diluting the IIM brand just to please the public. It should not restrict the use of the resources being deployed in these institutions to be used in one format. Brand extensions, especially in education, are a risky proposition for premium brands as it is very difficult to sustain the same culture and quality across different institutions. The newer IIMs will lead to more competition for student acquisition and this will surely impact other colleges adversely unless our economy is able to generate more jobs than the number of students graduating from all such management colleges.
The major focus areas for the government should be the following:
Focus on implementing the regulations and taking stern decisions against non-compliant institutions, rather than creating more rules and guidelines that impede the freedom of the business schools.
Provide access to funding and grants to quality institutions so that they can develop into world-class institutions without differentiating between private and public institutions. The funding could be provided as grants or soft loans. This will reduce the pressure on many institutions like us and we will be able to offer programs at much lower fees. Such funding could also be used to hire top of the line faculty from institutions overseas by institutions such as us. Alternatively provide special incentives and tax breaks to corporates so that they would be happy to provide endowments to such institutions.
Recognize international accreditation (such as AACSB, EFMD, SAQs, AMBA) as this would help reduce the resource drain of institutions who are aspiring for them but have to get accredited by Indian agencies as well. These resources in turn could be used for development of research and enhancing student learning.
Prof. Rishikesha T. Krishnan, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Indore
I do not think this is a step in haste. It is about how quickly we can bring the new institutes up to speed. There is no problem in creating physical infrastructure in the country in a limited period of time. However, there is a need for development of the corresponding soft infrastructure to ensure there is good faculty to make an institute successful in a short period of time.
Looking at the IIM history, it has usually taken an institute 15 years to reach critical mass and be seen at the same level as the others. The initiative here should be using our experience to shorten that time to maybe five to six years. The biggest challenge here is getting faculty. There is a need for creative initiatives and concerted effort from the government to develop around 150 new eligible faculty members in the next four to five years to meet the needs of new and existing institutes. We can identify promising candidates and sponsor their PhDs in international universities or give a strong push to doctoral programs in the existing IIMs. If the government brainstorms along with the institutes, I think they will be able to create a strong pipeline for quality faculty for the future.
On recruitment, I think the market is able to figure out between the older and the newer institutes. Clearly, a recruiter will not place an IIM started in 1960 and another started in 2014 on the same pedestal. Even though IIM is an umbrella brand, I think the recruiters have a more focused approach in reaching out to specific ones when it comes to hiring.