New Delhi: Seeking more autonomy in financial and administrative matters, the chairpersons and directors of the 13 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) will meet human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday.
Issues such as standardizing the admission process and improving research output will also be on the table during the meeting, which will take place in the wake of a report on reforming the IIMs submitted by a panel led by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd chairman R.C. Bhargava.
“The autonomy issue will be a major discussion area,” a ministry spokesperson said. “Mr Bhargava is expected to give a presentation on the issue.”
The report, submitted in October 2010, says leading business schools need to hire directors with experience of working abroad, alter their designation and profile, restructure the board of governors, and source funds from corporate houses in return for certain incentives.
Directors should be given more administrative and financial powers, like the heads of corporations, and their designation should be changed to president-cum-dean, says the report. “Not only would this be in line with the designations prevailing in leading business schools, but would enable the organizational structure to have vice-presidents and vice-deans,” it says.
The Bhargava committee noted that global business schools are showing interest in setting up shop in India. “Private investment in management schools is growing rapidly, and the ministry of HRD is keen on attracting foreign direct investment in education, which could include joint ventures. This will pose new challenges to the IIMs,” the report states, Mint had reported in October 2010.
Narayanan Ramaswamy, executive director for education practice at consulting and auditing firm KPMG, said autonomy for leading business schools is the need of the hour. The government should not interfere in their administrative matters as the IIMs themselves teach administration and management to the corporate world, he said.
The meeting will also discuss a proposal to hold common counselling, group discussion and personal interviews of admission seekers after the Common Admission Test (CAT).
Six recently opened IIMs—in Ranchi (Jharkhand), Rohtak (Haryana), Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Trichy (Tamil Nadu), Kashipur (Uttarakhand) and Udaipur (Rajasthan)—have already decided to do this to reduce hassles for students. But the seven older IIMs—at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Lucknow, Kozhikode and Shillong—hold independent sessions.
“The new IIMs have agreed for the common process,” said P. Rameshan, director of IIM, Rohtak. “Let’s see what the meeting decides. The older IIMs are established brand names and it will benefit us if they too join us.”
Himanshu Rai, a professor at IIM, Lucknow, and the convener of last year’s CAT, said students prefer giving separate interviews to enhance their chances of admission. “If they do badly in one interview, they still have a chance in the next,” he said. “I have not come across a single candidate who is ready to endorse the idea.”
The human resource development ministry is in favour of a common interview to obviate the need for students to run from one IIM to another, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
One proposal to make the system more uniform is to have a representative from each of the 13 IIMs on a common interview panel, where they can select students of their choice.
Nearly 206,000 students are vying for about 3,300 seats at the 13 IIMs this year.
PTI contributed to this story.