Topic: GS3 – education sector.
IITs and Their Global Ventures
- Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are highly regarded in India’s higher education system and known internationally.
- They are renowned for producing leaders in high-tech and related fields.
- IITs face increasing challenges while expanding globally and domestically.
The IIT system in India is in crisis
- The government has expanded the system too quickly, adding new IITs that have struggled to meet the high standards of the traditional institutes.
- There is a severe shortage of academics in the IIT system, and salaries are dramatically below international standards.
- The IITs are also facing challenges in attracting young professors committed to the IIT idea and to India’s development.
- Building overseas branch campuses is highly problematical, given the domestic challenges facing the system.
- IIT-Madras has opened a branch campus in Zanzibar and IIT Delhi will be launching programmes from its Abu Dhabi campus in 2024.
- The admission standards for these campuses are not as high as those at home, and they are open to students from across the globe.
- The annual tuition fee is $12,000 for the BS programme and $4,000 for the M.Tech programme, but only 70 students have signed up for the first year.
- It is unclear whether these campuses will be able to attract high-quality faculty and students, or whether they will be able to provide the same level of education as the main campuses in India.
Overexpansion at home:
- The government has added seven new IITs in the past decade, most of which are located away from major metropolitan centres.
- These new IITs have struggled to meet the high standards of the traditional institutes, and many of them have empty seats.
- There should not be several tiers of IITs, with varying standards and levels of prestige.
Faculty challenges, future prospects:
- Attracting and retaining high-quality faculty is a major challenge for the IIT system.
- Salaries are dramatically below international standards, and foreign trained Indians are generally reluctant to return to uncompetitive salaries, often inferior work environments, and more academic bureaucracy.
- Top Indian talent is increasingly attracted to the burgeoning IT sector, emerging biotech, and related fields.
- There is now a severe shortage of academics in the IIT system, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that the IITs are in crisis.
- Building quality in the new IITs is a significant challenge, and in the long run if this is not done, the prestige of the entire system will suffer.
- Maintaining faculty quality and attracting young professors committed to the IIT idea and to India’s development are both serious tasks.
- Expanding the system domestically may not have been a wise idea, and building overseas branch campuses is highly problematical.
Question: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are facing a number of challenges, including overexpansion, faculty shortage, and foreign adventures.