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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

IIM MBA ready to accept rise in intake

Courtesy- The Economic Times

THERE is some good news for Union human resource development minister Arjun Singh. Central education institutions seem prepared to take on the increases necessitated by the reservation for other backward classes, at least for the first year. This would mean that Mr Singh will be able to oversee the smooth implementation of the first phase of new regime in the last year of his current tenure as HRD minister.

The capacity addition required for implementing this massive expansion programme may present some problems in the second and third years. Of course, given that the new reservation regime is now the law of the land, the next government, too, will be honour bound to see its implementation through. The new reservation regime will require central education institutions to expand their current capacity by 54%. This expansion would accommodate the 27% quota for other backward classes and the corresponding increase in the general seats. Most of the institutions, especially the IITs, National Institutes of Technology and IIM mba have opted to increase their intake and implement the 27% quota over three years.

Providing for the increased intake would mean institutions have to hire more faculty members, provide student accommodation and facilities, and classrooms. While issues of physical infrastructure can be addressed through timely provisioning of funds, it is ensuring adequate quality faculty that could present a problem, if not in the first year, then definitely later on.

The government is keen to implement the new reservation regime from this year, that is academic year 2008-09. Institutes like the IITs, IIM mba and NITs, say that meeting the targets for the first year will not be difficult. The institutes will be able to manage with their existing infrastructure and faculty strength. IIM A director Samir Barua said, “For the first year, we have committed to a 6% increase, which would translate as 18 students. Accommodating 18 students would not be an issue.”

However, there are concerns about meeting the second and third year’s targets. “When the 54% increase is effected, we will require to add two additional classrooms, 150 room student accommodation and increase our faculty numbers. While our existing resources are enough to implement the first phase of the increase, that is 7% for year one, we will require funds to increase the phased capacity of 17% for year two and 27% in year three for iim mba ,” said IIM B director Pankaj Chandra.

Funds could well become the bottleneck that could upset the plans for smooth capacity expansion programme. Though the plans and costs for the expansion were ready by end-2006, and provisioned for in Budget 2007, no transfer of funds were possible as the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act was taken up for judicial review. For the current fiscal, the Budget has provided Rs 2,522 crore for institutions under the HRD ministry. For institutes to be able to keep pace with the expansion plans necessitated by the quota rollout, the money needs to be transferred now. Sources said without the funds promised by the government for this expansion, most central institutions would find it difficult to keep pace. “We were supposed to get the money last year, but that was not possible. We need the funds now so that over the next one year we can create the requisite infrastructure and hire new faculty that will be required,” an IIT faculty said. For the three older IIM mba , the absence of promised government funds would mean exhausting their corpus. Government sources have assured that funds for the expansion will not be an issue. The OBC quota implementation is expected to cost the exchequer Rs 17,270 crore in the Eleventh Plan period.

Central universities were required to implement the 27% reservation for OBCs in the first year in arts, humanities and social sciences disciplines. For the other disciplines, it would be phased over a period of two years, extendable by one more year to a maximum of three years. The final call on their preparedness is being taken by the University Grants Commission this month.

The real area of concern for a rollout of the new reservation regime would be medical education. Eleven institutions are covered by the Act. The Moily Committee, which was charged with preparing the roadmap for this expansion, provided Rs 1,877 crore for the three-year expansion programme in medical colleges. What remains unclear is if the medical institutions will be able to smoothly effect an increase in intake in the first year itself and if so what would be its levels.

The real test of a smooth expansion programme will present itself when each of the institutions will be required to hire faculty. Already, faculty shortages plague the entire higher education system. A 54% increase in capacity would necessitate at least a 30% increase in faculty. However, the good quality faculty has been scarce. Already institutions like IIM mba seats face acute shortages.


* The new reservation regime will require central institutions to expand their current capacity by 54% in iim mba seats
* Funds may well become the bottleneck that could upset the plans for smooth capacity expansion

IIM MBA is not a easy job in INDIA!

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