WES 2014 - Industry – Academia Bridge- Channelising Collaborative Models - Dr. G. R. C Reddy, Director, National Institute of Technology, Goa
Higher Technical Education India: IITs and NITs - Some suggestions
G R C Reddy, Director, NIT Goa
(1). India today produces some 1.5 million engineering graduates a year, most of
them in what we call “circuit branches”- computer Science, IT, Electronics’ and
(2). It is, however, agreed by all that 75% of these graduates are unemployable as
graduate engineers. The reasons: Both Government and private colleges lack
teachers of appropriate scholastic standard. Again, this is so because bright
students are not joining postgraduate programmes nor are taking up
research/teaching as a profession.
(3). The reasons behind this apathy for higher learning are:
(a). Our industry is not knowledge based;
There is little research, design or technology development
There is very little capital equipment manufacture and design,
where postgraduate engineers are gainfully employed.
• ALL THE ABOVE RELATE TO GOVT POLICIES UNDER
INDUSTRY, TAXATION, IMPORT/EXPORT, NOT
As a result there is little employment market for
postgraduate engineers in industry.
• Because of shortage of qualified engineers in the market, the
better ones are offered very high salaries by industry right after
graduation. Teachers’ salaries, in contrast, start seven years later
(i.e. after M. Tech. and Ph. D.) and at a level that is less than 50% of
• Ph. D. scholarships need to be comparable to those salaries to
attract students to research and innovation. Higher academic
standards can be introduced if scholarships are made higher.
(b). Not enough emphasis on Postgraduate and Research education even
to create teachers for colleges.
• Private colleges do not invest in postgraduate courses. Whenever
they do, most of them distribute degrees, not education of the
• Among Govt colleges only NITs, IITs and a few technology
universities have the faculty and facilities to offer PG education
and carry out research.
• Seven Old IITs (out of 16) started early and offer good
(though not at international standard) education. Among NITs some five
to seven institutes, though late starters, offer comparable
• New IITs, new NITs and some old NITs are yet to make a mark in
postgraduate and research education
• Thus the number of quality postgraduate engineers coming out per year is
very small. The situation is truly alarming.
(4). Nation needs:
(a). Immediate change in Government policy on industry labour, import,
duties and taxes (i) to make indigenous technology development
profitable for industry over foreign technology and (ii) to make design
and manufacture of capital equipment profitable over import.
This will boost demand for postgraduates and research engineers in
(b).Massive investment in higher technical education particularly in
existing centrally funded technical institutes.
• This will be cheaper, faster and more effective than opening new
institutes because most of the CFTIs are operating well below the critical
size necessary for proper education.
• Most campuses abroad have 20,000+ students while in India most CFTIs
have less than 5000.
(c). NITs, new IITs and some other CFTIs are the best candidates for new
(d). New institutes should be planned concurrently. By the time existing
institutes mature, new institutes will start growing.
(5) Our country has the unique scenario of having large cartels of Institutes- NITs,
IITs, IIMs etc. - common name and common admission, a common identity for a
set of institutes with different standards and sizes unrelated to performance.
This is leading to:
I. Public perception and Government funding linked to title (e.g. IIT) not
II. Complacency and frustration
III. Less emphasis on innovation, initiative and performance,
IV. Individual institutes not able to jump to higher levels through
V. No diffusion of intellect
(6). Differential funding and treatment by Central Government augments public
(7). 30 NITs constitute the largest single block of institutes offering postgraduate and
Old IITs are saturated in their size and quality; smaller and newer colleges have
not come to the point of converting investment to quality change. The NITs are
in the middle of a growth process. Investment will translate to quality and
volume in short run.
(8). To be productive, the Institutes need:
Uniform and rational faculty and non-faculty recruitment rules and policies,
delinked from UGC and AICTE. (Although academically NITs have no relation with
UGC, the ministry has tied them up administratively. This is killing the NITs.
• Boost in Infrastructure, laboratories, hostels, equipment etc. through
special infrastructure grants.
• Greater and clearer accountability of faculty and staff – e.g.
introduction of 4-tier faculty structure ending archaic practices of
near- automatic (time based) CAS promotion.
• End to class based discrimination the Government vis-a-vis IITs
and IIMs to boost self esteem of faculty and students of NITs and
• An officially sponsored investment and performance- based ranking
system implemented through a socially respected agency to modify
public and employer perception.
(9). These measures should give visible benefits in (say) 3 years.