New Delhi: In an effort to make the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) global brands, the central government on Wednesday allowed the premier Indian business schools to showcase their academic prowess globally to attract foreign students, especially from Europe and the US.
The decision was taken after a meeting of the Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal with the directors of all the 13 IIMs in the capital. “Next year, we will go abroad to conduct a roadshow and open to take around 10% of students from foreign countries to make our classroom look heterogeneous,” said Debashis Chatterjee, director of IIM-Kozhikode. “We (IIMs) are great schools and on a par with any other institute. The effort is to improve our global visibility.”
Currently, IIMs admit around 3,300 students in their postgraduate programmes every year. The foreign students intake will be over and above this number.
“In order to build diversity on campus and attract international students without affecting the national intake,” the IIMs were allowed jointly to organised the international show “pooling their resources for the purpose,”according to Sibal.
The government also decided to review the performance of IIMs every three years in an attempt to streamline their functioning. Then, IIMs will also be required to broaden their focus and conduct programmes and cutting edge research on issues of national relevance, in addition to giving talent to the Indian industry. A task force will be constituted to suggest ways to execute this vision.
“In order to expand the search for management solution in problems relevant to the nation and society, it was felt that IIMs have to take the lead in conducting programmes and organize curricula in areas such as energy management, academic institutions management, health management, agriculture management etc.,” Sibal said.
The IIMs are now ready to hold courses to provide solutions to national issues, said B.S. Sahay, director of IIM Raipur.
The government has also reiterated its commitment to the autonomy of the IIMs. There will be no interference in the daily functioning of these schools and the the memorandum of association, the charter that governs the IIMs, is being revised to give them more autonomy, Sibal said, without giving details.
Less interference from the government is always better for educational institutes, said Narayanan Ramaswamy, executive director at auditing firm KPMG. “IIMs are big names in the country but to become global names, they have to focus more on research,” he said.
While IIMs will not get complete independence, both human resource development ministry officials and the IIM authorities said that the government is increasingly stepping out of administrative matters and encouraging the B-schools to manage their affairs.
Meanwhile, the central government said that it will give Rs95 crore annually to the IIMs to bolster their research capability. “We are giving this, asking them to produce at least 100 more PHDs put together every year.” While the seven older IIMs produce less than this number every year, the six new IIMs are yet to start their doctoral programmes.
It was unanimously decided by the IIMs to share faculty, improve research output and bring out a journal of their own, on the lines of leading business schools in the West, Sibal said.
“I believe the government is doing a lot and is genuinely interested in the betterment of these B-schools,” said M. Damodaran, chairman of IIM-Trichy and the former chairman of the market regulator, Securities and Exchange Broad. “What I think is that the research atmosphere needs to change in these schools. Faculty is an issue but we have agreed on sharing faculty and hiring them by giving incentives.”
The IIMs are not seeking complete independence, nor is the government involved in a bureaucratic exercise to control these institutions, said Damodaran, who will also head a panel to lay out the roadmap for the new IIMs.
However, the proposal to have a common interview to select students for all IIMs was rejected as admission to every institute is “sacrosanct”.