NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 7: A few months ago there was an outcry over non-inclusion of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) in the list of Institutions of Eminence (IoE), despite being one of the most deserving institutions for the coveted tag. However, IIT Madras is likely to make the cut this time as the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is likely to announce the name of 14 institutions selected for the IoE status soon.
A senior faculty member of the Institute on condition of anonymity speaking to Careers360 said that almost everyone in the institute was sure that it would bag the coveted tag, but upon seeing the names announced in July the moral of the faculty members, as well as students, went down. He said, “We have been doing quality work in all fields and were nowhere lagging in any of the parameters to get the IoE status. This was really shocking for all of us when we did not see the name of IIT Madras among the selected list of six institutions.” He said that they did convey their displeasure over the issue to the MHRD informally.
Reportedly, the Empowered Experts Committee (EEC) appointed by MHRD is ready with the name of 14 institutions, seven public and seven private which is likely to be announced next week. This has brought much cheer among the IIT Madras community as they are hopeful that finally, they would get the IoE tag. A senior official of the University Grants Commission (UGC) has confirmed the development and said that in the upcoming meeting of the Commission, which is scheduled for next week, the IoE status will be discussed. He said that most likely once the shortlisted names are submitted by EEC and approved by the MHRD, the UGC will announce the names.
The Ministry is already feeling the heat on one side with inclusion of Jio Institute, which is yet to be established, while on the other hand an institution which is ranked best (read IIT Madras) in the country was left out. After the names were announced in July, IIT Madras Director, Bhaskar Ramamurthi expressed his happiness over the fact that IIT Madras was chosen among the final eight, but added that the only option for the institute now was to wait. He said that the institute was capable of getting the IoE status, as in their presentation they gave a clear pathway.
In October, it was reported that the IIT-Madras Chairman Pawan Goenka wrote a letter to the Minister of HRD, Prakash Jvadekar expressing his displeasure over IIT Madras not being given the IoE status, despite having matching credentials with the ones getting the IoE tag.
Following the announcement of IoE names, Chairman of the EEC, N Gopalaswami said that large share of weightage while selecting IoE institutions was given to perceptions in international rankings. He argued that many of the students and faculty do not choose Chennai because of its extremely hot climate, and instead prefer a more ‘salubrious’ climate and because of that, the institute lags behind in the international rankings.
Last year, the Government constituted the EEC headed by N. Gopalaswami, former Chief Election Commissioner; Tarun Khanna, Harvard University; Renu Khator, President, University of Houston; and Pritam Singh, former Director, IIM-Lucknow. The EEC was given the task to select 20 universities in the country - 10 public and 10 private - to promote them on the world stage, by giving complete autonomy and funding (for public institutions only). However, the Government chose to select only six institutions, three public and three private institutions. Among the public institutions were the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), IIT Bombay and Delhi; and private ones were the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and Jio Institute.
IIT Madras faculty argued that EEC recommended names of five more public institutions, IIT-Madras, IIT-Kharagpur, Delhi University, Jadavpur University and Anna University. He said, “the Ministry in order to keep the number of public and private universities equal ignored these institutions, which were way better than the chosen private ones. It is good that these institutions are likely to get what they deserve.”
Some of the private universities which are likely to get the IoE status include, recently launched KREA University, Vellore Institute of Technology, Indian School of Business-Hyderabad, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, and Kalinga Institute of Technology.
IIT Madras was established in 1959 and at present has over 580 faculty and 9,500 students in its campus, with students from 18 countries enrolled in various programmes. Interestingly, IIT Madras has been ranked as the best engineering institute in the India Rankings for the past three consecutive years – 2016, 2017 and 2018. It was also ranked as the Number two in the category of Overall Institutions in 2017 and 2018 Rankings, released by the National Institutional Ranking Framework.