Friday, March 25, 2011

IT-BHU takes one more step towards becoming an IIT


This is a major milestone:

Lok Sabha Passes Bill to Provide IIT Status to 8 Institutes, BHU

The Lok Sabha today passed a bill to provide status of IIT to eight new institutes and upgrade BHU's institute of technology into IIT with government asserting that steps were being taken to address shortage of faculty and quality of higher education.

[Disclosure: I am an alumnus of IT-BHU.]

There's one more step -- Rajya Sabha's approval -- before the conversion of IT-BHU into an IIT becomes a legal reality.

17 Comments:

  1. jatkesha said...

    Wonder what is there in a name.

    ITBHU is/was a much respectable place compared to most of these new IITs (I even dare say the one in the North East). So much so that the chemical engineering, polymer engineering, materials are top notch.

  2. jatkesha said...

    Correction: Ceramic engineering.

    Apologies.

  3. Vikram said...

    "He said there was a shortage of 1,216 teachers in old IITs and 1,516 teachers in new IITs as against the authorised strength of 4,105 and 4,765 respectively."

    I am confused. Wouldnt it have been easier to expand the existing IITs ? Where exactly are the faculty going to come from ? And if they dont, whats going to distinguish the IITs from a non-IIT engineering college ?

  4. Yayaver said...

    I am Cautiously optimistic until the board outside director's office willn't change....

    As has been said by our alumni : Sadly, I have been badly burnt multiple times on this, and would wait for the proverbial cup to get to the proverbial lip :).

  5. WebMiner said...

    "Wouldnt it have been easier to expand the existing IITs?" --- This is also being done at a fast clip, with the result that some IITs have burst at the seams already, with dramatically reduced quality of life for students and faculty alike. The truth is, not only are we not obligated to compete with Harvard or MIT, but we are not even required to compete with IITs in the 1980s. We just need to compete with the nameless lame-o capitation fee engineering college, and in that race to the bottom we are still doing very well.

  6. Vikram said...

    Webminer, isnt it somewhat arrogant and a bit silly to try and compete with Harvard and MIT ? These are private universities with very large endowments and they charge their undergrads very high tuition. And why is an 'institute of technology' trying to compete with Harvard, where atleast 88 % of students have non-engineering majors ? http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/search/CollegeDetail.jsp?collegeId=1251&profileId=7

    Wouldnt it have been more sensible to 'compete' with large public schools like Michigan, Illinois and Texas ? Do profesional subjects really need the kind of student-teacher ratios that the IITs aim to have ?

  7. sacredfig said...

    @WebMiner Brilliantly put !

  8. Selva said...

    shortage of faculty? seriously? I hear this very often in the recent times. I can't believe that its so difficult to find a few hundred qualified individuals. On the other hand, I hear post-docs, working abroad complaining about the lukewarm response they get from IITs over their applications. I've seen people with stellar publication record being rejected, at the same time people with 'connections' getting the job without any problems. God save this country.

  9. Vikram said...

    @ webminer, my comment about silly and arrogant isnt aimed at you, it is aimed at the people in charge of higher education in India. I just think they had the wrong idea from the get go. Sorry, if I offended.

  10. WebMiner said...

    @selva: "I can't believe that its so difficult to find a few hundred qualified individuals." --- as Google says, "Come work with us" (to find out).

    @Vikram: I feared you missed the jab but you made it clear in your second posting. I find endless entertainment in the stupid comparison with MIT and Harvard while most IIXs are behind Harvey-Mudd or Pace or Mills in overall college experience. But hey, that's what third world is all about, grandiose hallucinations while going to the dogs.

  11. Genghis Khan said...

    Vikram,

    Why do you think that it is sensible to compete with large public schools? IITs are clearly not large (~10,000 students). In fact, why should we compete with any foreign school? I agree when my colleague said that we live in a third world country, and we (aspire to) solve first world problems.

  12. WebMiner said...

    @Genghis: The nature of world-class research makes it inevitable that you are compared with the best in the world, and so you are obligated to solve first world problems. Of late a section of Indian researchers have started a "research for the third world" movement. Once in a while this works. But most of the time it sounds like "how to design bridges in a country where all contractors steal cement" or "how to type documents in a country where two-thirds are illiterate", i.e., boring. Service, but not research.

  13. Genghis Khan said...

    "how to design bridges in a country where all contractors steal cement" or "how to type documents in a country where two-thirds are illiterate", i.e., boring.

    Here's a better example. Several years ago, I worked on a logistics problem with the Indian Railways where modeling itself was tricky and we had to use some clever methods, which would usually lead to a journal publication related to logistics. Our submission was trashed because the editor thought that Railways do not work this way.

    Anyway, I've gotten used to being a BPO employee doing research for the first world over these years.

  14. WebMiner said...

    Any business has as its basic mantra "do not judge your customer, accommodate him". But technology is not business. Trying to fix with technology what should instead be fixed with education and social engineering does not work in the long run, and has negative externalities. To give just one example: car drivers in India are infamous for (attempted but futile) personal optimization at social cost. They just do not get traffic signals. As a result, even allowing for the stupendous load density in Indian cities, they get speeds that are a small fraction of what would be obtained by suddenly making them behave like Danish or Swedish drivers and fixing broken traffic signals, but keeping all other factors fixed. Since we cannot do that, most Indian cities sport flyovers whose purpose is not to bridge across spaces earlier unconnected, but to provide a signal-free and intersection-free path parallel to the road below. This might be regarded as technology to bypass social limitations, but it involves lifting thousands of cars per hour to a height of 15 feet or so and then bringing them down just to cross an intersection. The energy cost for this far exceeds idling at the intersection for a few minutes, especially given underpowered and poorly maintained engines and transmissions in India. I won't even get into social engineering toward more public transit and fewer cars, because we have been galloping backward the last 15 years and nothing will change until oil overshoots 200USD/barrel.

  15. Desi Babu said...

    Dear Prof. Abinandan,

    Here is an interesting news story you might like:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12885271

    Peace!

  16. Vikram said...

    @ Genghis Khan, I am arguing for the IITs to be made bigger. I dont think that we need the kind of student-faculty ratios the IITs aspire for to train good engineers. Incidentally, neither did the former director of the IIT-D CS dept, http://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/users/jalote/GenArticles/StudentFacultyRatio.html

    And a total of 28,000 students study in all IITs combined, the University of Michigan alone has more students than that. Michigan's college of engineering alone more students than any single IIT. And if you add science students, UM alone produces the same number of scientists and engineers as three IITs !

  17. WebMiner said...

    @Vikram "I am arguing for the IITs to be made bigger. I dont think that we need the kind of student-faculty ratios the IITs aspire for to train good engineers." --- You have distinguished company in Kapil "one IIT in every chawl" Sibal. IITs had 60 years to show world-class research and largely failed. It is now time to give up on those blue-sky aspirations and clean up the filthy stable instead. Perhaps even IISc should focus on UG teaching. Research should be left to professionals (read US grad schools). The sooner we disambiguate IIT's schizoid existence, the better.