M A I N   N E W S

Don’t need certificate from you, faculty to Ramesh
IIM, IIT teachers ask minister to refrain from making ‘insensitive’ statements
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s dismissal of the faculty’s contribution in making the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) world-class institutions sparked a debate today, with teachers at these institutes asking Ramesh to refrain from making “insensitive” statements.

Incensed at the conclusions the Minister drew yesterday, the IIT and IIM faculty today said they needed no certificate of performance from Ramesh and his remarks - that these institutes were excellent because of their students and not teachers -- were “misplaced”.

“My question to the minister is: Why would an excellent student go to an institute that is not excellent? His statement defies logic. Moreover, he has no right to sit in judgment of the IIMs of which he was never a part. Let us not forget that global corporate firms pay a premium on students who pass out of the IIMs and not those that enter them,” Professor Himanshu Rai of IIM Kanpur today told The Tribune. A student of IIM Ahmadabad who went on to teach at IIM, Kanour, Rai also questioned Ramesh’s poor opinion of research outputs at the IIMs and IITs.

“Research doesn’t happen in thin air. For good research, you need good money and that money must come from the government of which Jairam Ramesh is a part,” Rai said, Professor Saugata Ray, acting Director of IIM Kolkata in tow. Both said Ramesh was no one to judge them.

Even within the IIT system of which Ramesh is a part (he studied at IIT Bombay), the faculty was “incensed”, with top administrators reportedly SMSing their disappointment to officials in the HRD Ministry. “They say the Minister is not attuned to the recent strides in research the IITs have made despite their resource constraints,” a Ministry official said.

Professor Vinod Tare of IIT Kanpur, Coordinator for “Clean the Ganges Project” which the Ministries of Environment and HRD are running with the IIT Consortium, today said Ramesh is mistaken in his conclusions that students alone make the IITs world-class.

“At any institute of excellence, the faculty and students share a symbiotic bond. One is incomplete without the other,” he said.

Mumbai: At the IIT Mumbai from where Ramesh himself qualified, the ministers remarks have drawn criticism from the organisation. "Jairam Ramesh is within his rights to voice his opinions on the quality of faculty at the IITs. However our record speaks for itself. The alumni from the IIT are have succeeded in all walks of life," a spokesperson for IIT Mumbai said. Members of the faculty who were busy with the summer projects of students resident at the IIT hostel at Powai were clearly unhappy at the minister's remarks.

"The faculty at various IITs in the country are staffed by alumni. So the minister's remarks were not in good taste," a professor told this reporter. However, senior members of the faculty felt that the institutes were not drawing the best of talents.

"The minister should look into the pay scales at the IIT which make it difficult for them to hire experts from corporations in India and abroad," one member of the faculty said. (With inputs from Shiv Kumar)





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