Why IITs didn’t Deliver?

IIT’s are the premier technical education institutions of the country. At present there are 23 IITs. All the IITs are declared as “Institutions of national importance”. IITs are governed by Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 which lays down their powers, duties, framework for governance etc.

Objectives of IITs:

The objectives of the IITs include:

  • To impart world class education in engineering and technology.
  • To conduct research in the relevant fields.
  • To aid in further advancement of learning and dissemination of knowledge.
  • Contributing significantly to education and research in basic sciences and humanities.

Have IIT’s Delivered?

Even though IITs made a beginning towards revolutionizing the technical education scenario of the country, their performance is far from being satisfactory. IITs have failed in many fronts such as:

  • IITs have failed to meet the urgent need of grasping the special aspirations and requirements of an independent India.
  • IITs have failed to invent and innovate for addressing the country’s pressing needs.
  • IITs have failed in aiding our space or nuclear programmes.
  • Seldom there has been creative inputs from IITs in building bridges, roads or dams
  • Despite government pumping huge amount to these institutes they have failed to produce even a single Nobel laureate.
  • IITs have failed to create an economically powerful entrepreneurial ecosystem in its immediate neighbourhood or elsewhere.
  • No path-breaking knowledge-based idea of practical importance has emerged from the IITs.

Why IITs Couldn’t Deliver:

The various reasons due to which the IITs are getting choked are:

  • Interference of the government: Autonomy is one of the prerequisite for the IITs in achieving their stated objectives. Too much of governmental interference has clipped their wings. As a result IITs are getting reduced to nothing more than any other teaching institutes.
  • Mediocre faculty: A highly motive, rational and inspiring faculty is what needed in the IITs. Increase in the number of Status-quoits, risk averse and mediocre faculties is resulting in IITs losing their relevance.
  • Connecting with the mass: There was a lack of institutionalised programme or mechanism to connect IITs with India’s challenges and needs. As a result they have become Islands of excellence without forward or backward linkages with the society. IMPRINT India was a good move in bridging this gap.
  • Lack of inter-disciplinary approach: Even though IITs made an effort in building an inter-disciplinary approach over the time the institutions adopted harmonious mediocrity with the usual touch me not attitude.
  • Entrance tests: Admissions to IITs are based on a single entrance test. This has given coaching industries an opportunity to exploit. Most premier institutions across the world admit students into their programmes by evaluating the overall aptitude and personality.
  • Haphazard expansion: Unthought-of and ill-planned expansion has resulted in mushrooming of IITs with lack of necessary infrastructure.

It’s time for India to have a re-look at its approach towards IITs or else the institutes would lose their sheen and relevance in 21st century India.