'Jairam Ramesh has stated the truth'
We invited you to share your opinion on Jairam Ramesh's recent statements about the quality of IIT and IIM faculty. Share yours too!
Many Rediff readers wrote in expressing their opinion on what the minister had to say and came out in his support.
Some of these readers are alumnus of the elite IITs and IIMs and seem to agree with the minister's statements about the faculty.
We leave you with all the responses we have received so far. Do read them and tell us what you think about the issue.
Aswathi Pillai writes in:
I fully agree with his (Jairam Ramesh's) statement. The fact that IIT students are world class is not disputed by anybody. Why is there doubt about the quality of the faculty of IITs?
It is because there are very few world-class achievements in the field of research or teaching at IITs. Majority of the students of IITs can get admission to reputed Universities of the world.
Can majority of the faculty of IITs get a teaching job in reputed Universities? There may be a few good world-class faculty members in IITs but majority of the faculty of IITs are not world class whereas majority of the students of IITs are world class.
Hence Jairam Ramesh has stated the absolute truth, and he needs to be appreciated for being so bold.
Your say: Do you agree with Jairam Ramesh's statements or do you think the minister was being out of line? Share with us your opinion.Write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Jairam Ramesh) and we will publish the best responses right here on rediff.com!
Image: Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
'Jairam Ramesh should have been sacked'
Prof V Ramgopal Rao says
Jairam Ramesh's comments are very immature, to say the least. Good students do not make a good institution. If that is the case, India would have had quite a few IITs and why India, every country would have IITs. There are good students everywhere and any country can conduct a tough examination, such as JEE. It is the exceptional and the devoted faculty who made IITs what they are today.
Jairam Ramesh making such sweeping public statements based on his own perception, and not backed by any data, is being absolutely irresponsible. IITs were set up as undergraduate institutes, and they became the best in the world for the same. Now that the focus has shifted to research, give them the time and the resources, and they can do it too.
These kind of public statements demoralise the faculty and do not serve any purpose. Over 70 per cent of faculty at IIT Bombay have at least one degree from an IIT. More than 50 per cent of them have PhDs from the world's best institutions.
Jairam Ramesh should have been sacked for his statements. This must be the only country where an environment minister can comment on the country's educational institutions and doesn't even get reprimanded. It is free for all in this government. If you are articulate and speak good English, you are considered an intellectual and can say anything and get away with it.
If a Jairam Ramesh is considered an intellectual god save this country
'Blame the congress party not faculty'
Balaji Srinivasan says:
Congress has been ruling (rather ruining) the country for past 50 plus years.
Nehru created the IITs. If the minister finds fault with them, then he should blame only the congress governments not the faculty of IIT.
What else you can expect from a government, which does the 'Most wanted goof-up'?
'In the context it's a fair statement'
Vivek Athavale writes:
I agree with what Jairam Ramesh has said about IIT-IIM professors.
He has not said they are bad. What he has said is that they are not world class and do not do any path breaking research.
Hence in the context it's a fair statement.
Also the intention was to point out that we need to have research facilities to attract even better talent as professors.
'To an extent Jairam Ramesh is right'
I think to an extent Jairam is right. I have studied at one of these premier institutes but I find that although these institutions are a class apart when compared to their peer group in India they are way behind when compared to their global peers.
One example that comes to my mind is the pathetic shape of quality case studies. Except for IIM Ahmedabad other institutions are not doing much on this front.
Even IIM Ahmedabad is way behind institutes like Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, on this count.
It is a pity that most of these institutions rely on case studies developed by Harvard and other international b-schools to groom future managers who have to work in the Indian environment.
There are not many well-researched case studies relevant to Indian business scenarios.
In fact I have come across many excellent case studies by foreign b-schools on Indian success stories.
The same holds true when it comes to research work in the management field. IIMs still have a long way to go in catching up with other world-class b-schools in generating quality and useful research for the industry.
Barring a few professors at these institutions others are not up to the international standards. A visit to the website of Ashwath Damodaran who is a professor at Columbia University will prove my point.
'At IIT and IIMs, world-class students are converted into average students'
Abhijit Rai writes in:
I am an IIT-Delhi alumnus and I agree with the minister. Some readers are confusing the matter with politics and standard or politicians, but that's not the point in context here.
The question is whether IITs and IIMs world class in terms of teaching and other faculties.
Although Ramesh himself may not be an authority over the subject of IITs, I think he has hit a nerve here.
The facts are facts no matter who speaks them.
Lets start with rankings, where do IITs and IIMs rank in world rankings -- very sub-par compared to other world-class institutions!
Second, how much research do IITs publish, what is the ratio of intellectual property created by IITs with respect to IP created by world's top 20 universities. Although I do not have the data, it's worth researching and I am sure will be very revealing.
As an ex student of IIT, I can also vouch for the facilities provided by IIT. During late 1990s and early 2000s while I was a student, the minimal facilities such as student library were deplorable.
When I visited a very ordinary university in USA, just by looking at the fantastic library facilities I could see that I had spent four years in blind allegiance to a sub-par institution. It was a shock to notice that Indian Institutes of "Technology" are using antiquated technologies. The hostel facilities, food and student services are all areas, which are neglected completely.
The antiquated curriculum is also "hard lined" where students are treated as square pegs and every attempt is made to fit into round holes.
There is no flexibility offered to explore their interest areas and change their paths if they find a better fit. Instead the interest areas are 'defined' and set.
For four years the student are forced into a field of study that may not pique their interest. As a result world-class students are converted into average students biding their time to get the degree rather than contributing their intelligence to the field of interest.
The unfortunate thing is IIT administrators' ego is too big to accept this drawback and achieve the awesome potential the IITs represent for the future of the country.
In the end, I would like to emphasise that the movie 3 Idiots was not entirely fiction.
'It is partially true'
What Jairam Ramesh is telling is partially true.
Forget the IITs, look at AIIMS, IARI, NII, and other nationally important institutes! All of them are doing second hand research. Look at the international recognition these professors have.
Of course, they are (paid) members of any society, produce worthless papers, no doubt not even single major international recognition.
Oh don't think about the Nobel. They always get the local awards, as they sit in a place to influence peoples.
'What was so wrong in what Ramesh said?'
Prof Surojit Chattopadhyay writes in:
What wrong did he say? He didn't mean each and every professor.
Most of them are really not Asia class, leave aside world class.
True, science research in IITs are very ordinary compared to TIFR (Mumbai), IISc (Bangalore), IACS (Kolkata),SINP (Kolkata), HRI (Allahabad), PRL (Ahmedabad), and some front line universities.
IITs are however very good in technology stream for those doing Btechs. IIT is ordinary when it comes to MS or Ph.D.
I remember during 1991, when we were joining Universities for MS,
IITs were always the third choice after two university failures. So what wrong did he say?
'Ramesh was stating the obvious'
Srinivasan Venkatraman says:
Jairam should get hold of a copy of Prof P. Ramarao's report for converting IITs to pure research institutions.
Murali Manohar Joshi wanted this to happen. It would have been nice but Arjun and co do not respond to the good ideas.
Not only did this report not see the light of day but newer IITs were created. It seems the idea of good research to get accepted will take a while. Ramesh was stating the obvious.