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IIT directors urge govt to give new institutes another name

By Kalpana Pathak in Mumbai
April 04, 2008 01:04 IST
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Directors of some Indian Institutes of Technology are understood to have written to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia urging the government to give the proposed IITs some other name.

They are of the view that calling the new institutes "IITs" would dilute the brand image of the existing premier institutes, which figure among the world's 100 best technology universities and are compared with the likes of MIT, California University and Berkeley.

The seven IITs are located in Kharagpur, Mumbai, Chennai, Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati and Roorkee.

With the government's plan to set up eight new IITs in Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab, and the conversion of the institute of technology at Banaras Hindu University into an IIT, the total number of IITs will increase to 16.

The government has proposed to create the new IITs under the same mandate as the older ones so that they enjoy similar financial support, though they may have a different council.

"I am surely in favour of the government's idea of creating new quality institutes like the IITs, but they should be given a different name so that a different branding can be created," said Ashok Mishra, director, IIT Bombay.

"The older IITs are in the global league and are on the rising curve in terms of research and development. They are a different brand altogether," he added.

A S Kolaskar, advisor, National Knowledge Commission, acknowledged, "There is a group which believes that the brand equity of the IITs and IIMs should not be diluted and thus they are working towards it. We too believe that the new institutes should be created on a different model and impart better technical education with liberal arts."

The IITs were established and declared Institutes of National Importance by the government in 1951 to train scientists and engineers.

All IITs are autonomous universities that draft their own curricula. Some IITs were established with financial assistance and technical expertise from UNESCO, Germany, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

Each IIT is linked through a common IIT Council that oversees its administration.

About 15,500 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students study in the seven IITs, in addition to research scholars.

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Kalpana Pathak in Mumbai
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