Ahmedabad, May 26: Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said on Wednesday the thrust in IITs so far had not been on research, but things were changing now.
His comments came in the backdrop of Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's statement that “there is hardly any worthwhile research taking place in our IITs”. Sibal, however, avoided getting into any argument with his Cabinet colleague.
“I would not like to make any comment on what the Minister has said as it would not look good,” he told reporters here when asked about Ramesh's critical remarks on faculty of IIMs and IITs.
“But I would like to say that when the IITs were formed, a majority of courses were of B Tech and thrust was not given to post-graduate degree (M Tech), where all the research activity takes place,” the HRD Minister maintained.
“Bright students used to do B Tech here and if they wanted to go for research, they used to go to the US.” “Another thing that we should keep in mind is that a country like the US spends USD 250 billion annually on research. Even China spends about USD 50-60 billion, while in India we spend just USD 8 billion dollar annually,” he said. “So we have to think about it before saying research is not being done due to faculty members of IITs.” Ramesh, speaking in Delhi on Monday, had said, “the faculty in the IIT is not world class. It is the students in IITs who are world class. The IITs and IIMs are excellent (institutes) because of the quality of students not because of quality of research or faculty.”
Sibal further said that after the Government started education reforms, things are changing for good. “Now we can witness that more number of students are doing M Tech.” “We have initiated reforms in IITs and IIMs. Governance structure is being changed. We have told IITs and IIMs that you select Director, you select your Chairman. Government should not interfere in their functioning and this will bring a (positive) change in functioning of such institutes,” the HRD Minister said.
“We have also kept a target- by 2020 four to five of our top institutes should figure in top 100 educational institutes of the world,” he stated. PTI