Ahmedabad: The Government should first remove restrictions and grant greater operational and financial autonomy to Indian Institutes of Management before allowing entry to foreign B-schools, IIM Ahmedabad Director Samir Barua has said.
Comparing the situation with the pre-liberalistion period, Barua said, “The government had first removed restrictions on industry and then allowed entry of foreign players. IIMs want the same as we are not shy of competition.”
Foreign B-schools would be able to set up campuses in the country once the Foreign Universities Entry and Operations Bill is passed, Barua said.
The Union Cabinet has already approved the Bill for tabling in Parliament.
“How can we compete with foreign schools who do not face the kind of restrictive government regulations that we have to comply with? IIMs will soon slide into mediocrity as top foreign B-Schools would provide tough competition given their resources and brand names,” he said.
“Take, for example, Harvard Business School. It has endowments which are almost 3,000 times more than that of IIM, Ahmedabad. They will be able to attract the country’s best students and the best faculty,” the IIM-A chief said.
“He also expressed disappointment that the R C Bhargava review committee appointed by the Union HRD ministry to recommend measures to strengthen IIMs has not made removal of restrictions and greater financial and operational autonomy a central issue.
Instead, the report submitted to the HRD ministry has recommended creation of yet another layer of authority through establishment of a pan-IIM board, he said.
“This is a conceptual flaw. To have two boards, one pan-IIM board responsible for policy formulation and monitoring of performance and another board for each IIM being responsible for mere implementation of the policies is not in accordance with basic principals of good governance,” Barua said.
IIM-A has opposed this recommendation in its report on the Bhargava panel’s views submitted to the HRD ministry, he said.
Barua said although the IIMs had raised the issue of competition from not only foreign B-schools but also private schools in their meetings with the review panel and had asked for removal of restrictions, the review report has made only a passing reference to the emerging scenario and has recommended more control instead.
Regarding the Union government’s desire to set up new IIMs, he said “We have instead suggested that existing IIMs should be allowed to set up campuses in different parts of the country, if not around the world.”
While setting up new IIMs will require a long gestation period, existing IIMs can set up campuses in different parts of the country much more quickly if allowed to do so, he said.
The move will help the government achieve its goal of increasing the number of IIM qualified graduates while strengthening the existing institutes, Barua added.