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Business News/ Education / News/  Centre rejects request, private B-schools can’t award degrees
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Centre rejects request, private B-schools can’t award degrees

HRD minister refuses request made by a delegation from lobby group that represents 300 B-schools

Private business schools are worried that a draft bill that allows the IIMs to grant degrees will put them at a disadvantage. Photo: MintPremium
Private business schools are worried that a draft bill that allows the IIMs to grant degrees will put them at a disadvantage. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The central government has rejected a request from India’s top private business schools to let them award management degrees and receive public funding as proposed for Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) under a draft bill.

Currently, state-run IIMs as well as privately owned B-schools such as XLRI in Jamshedpur, Birla Institute of Management and Technology (BIMTECH) in Greater Noida and Management Development Institute (MDI) in Gurgaon, grant postgraduate diplomas in management (PGDM), not degrees. The private schools are worried that a draft bill that allows IIMs to grant degrees will put them at a disadvantage.

Human resources development minister Smriti Irani earlier this month turned down the request made by a delegation from the Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI), a lobby group that represents 300 business schools, a government official said. The ministry told the delegation that since they are privately-run, it will be tough to give them the same standing as government-run IIMs.

“You have to realise that IIMs are created by the government and still run by it. The government has a say in their matter. In case of independent B-schools, the ministry does not have much control except them adhering to some set rules of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)," the official explained.

Harivansh Chaturvedi, director, BIMTECH, confirmed the development. “We updated the minister about our concerns. She listened to us completely but she politely declined to give us degree-granting power," he said.

Chaturvedi voiced concerns that IIMs beginning to grant degrees may affect other business schools, since both have been offering diplomas for a long while. He said the meeting with the minister happened after the B-schools met several times over the issue to evaluate the impact of IIM Bill on them. He said though the minister declined to accept the proposal, the schools may appeal again once the draft IIM bill is finalised.

While declining to comment specifically on the PGDM issue, an HRD ministry spokesperson said the ministry is evaluating all suggestions received from IIMs and the industry before preparing the final draft.

The IIMs and industry criticised the draft IIM bill over some of its provisions, which they said will take away their autonomy. Sections 35 and 36 of the bill, which were added without discussing with IIMs and which empower the Union government to set rules were the most opposed. Section 36 states, “The (IIM) board may, with the approval of the central government, by notification, make regulations not inconsistent with this Act and the rules made thereunder to carry out the provisions of this Act."

Section 35 empowers the central government, among other things, to “make rules, for carrying out the provisions of this Act", ranging from the appointment of the IIM chairpersons to terms and conditions of their service. Currently, the HRD ministry is in discussions with IIMs to rework the bill.

Chaturvedi said though the PGDM schools have the option to apply for becoming a deemed university to be eligible to grant degrees, they don’t see it as the ideal move.

“Coming under UGC rules will be counter-productive as they have some archaic systems. We want to keep our independence, but want some level playing field purely based on merit," said Chaturvedi, who is also the alternate president of EPSI. He said some of the PGDM schools are as good as the old IIMs and certainly better than most of the new IIMs.

He, however, said the minister listened to one of their demands: relaxation from excessive control of AICTE. In December 2010, AICTE had issued guidelines on PGDM courses, their admission process and their fee structure. The B-schools went to the court and the matter is currently in Supreme Court. “The minister told us to give us all the documents and the complaint in writing and assured us to have a look at it," said Chaturvedi.

Kalpesh Banker, managing partner of EduShine Advisory, an education consultancy said degree-granting power for PGDM schools will help them be on par with IIMs, but in the marketplace, only quality of education matters.

“A company will only come back to hire in a campus if he or she is happy with the performance of the last recruits. Be it IIMs or PGDM schools, only quality will bring companies back to them," Banker said.

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Published: 29 Sep 2015, 12:27 AM IST
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