Jio’s ’eminence’ tag should not become a problem for other establishments
The Reliance proposed JIO university is becoming the victim of another controversy and finally after a long struggle opposition got a genuine reason to target the Modi led BJP government. Though the idea of making another premier institute should not be the part of the sheer controversy, however, the unnecessary government approval will raise the eyebrow for sure. It doesn’t matter whether the institute is related to a politician or a business tycoon, once a private group enters into the education means there will be nothing except business. So why so much noise about the eminence tag?
The importance of Eminence tag
First of all, the objective is to make the educational institute that can compete with global universities/institute in terms of education and research. Due to the dismal ranking in the top 200 global institute, the government proposed to set up the institution of eminence. According to this proposal, 20 institutes will be set up or given the tag. As per the statement of N. Gopalaswami, who heads the panel of IoE, most of the institutes are applying just for money who don’t even come within 100 ranking in NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework). At the same time, he indirectly said that one is eligible to get such tag if it can prove itself with proper infrastructure which Reliance can’t. No one can give the guarantee if Reliance could fulfill its promise which it presented to the IoE pannel. If they can’t trust already established institute we don’t know how they granted it to a “greenfield” Institute though the waiting list is long that includes Airtel’s Bharti University, Vedanta University, and KREA university.
According to his argument, these institutes don’t have a clear plan that JIO has, and currently, no one knows what will be the future.
How it justifies for a non-exist institute
However, Arvind Panagariya has a different stand on this. According to the former Chairman of NITI Ayog, it requires a lot of courage to announce something and is more difficult if the person is Prime Minister. In a country like India, a PM would think twice or thrice before such an announcement which Narendra Modi did. Somehow his statement justifies the eminence tag because it is difficult to change the rules of an existing institute whereas for a new university rules can be implemented from the beginning.
Reasons for the eminent tag
In response to some misinformation campaign in social media regarding “Institutes of Eminence”, please find herewith clarifications on commonly raised questions #InstituteofEminence pic.twitter.com/K6IB5ILpfb
— Ministry of HRD (@HRDMinistry) July 9, 2018
The University Grant Commission (UGC) defends the eminent tag by saying that it gives recognition under the greenfield category through a new proposal to consider under this. 11 applicants applied for this but none fillup the criteria except Reliance group that fulfill all the conditions as below.
a) Availability of land for construction of the institution.
b) Putting in place a core team with very high qualification and wide experience.
c) Making available funding for setting up the institution.
d) A strategic vision plan with clear annual milestones and action plan.
Six institutes along with JIO get such recognition that includes Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, the Indian Institutes of Technology at Mumbai and Delhi, strangely, the government excludes IIT, Kharagpur. As per their criteria, IIT(K) fulfills everything but again became the victim of government ignorance.
Eminence status without a field visit
Even though to offer the tag to greenfield institute is controversial, however, it raises the question for the rest of the institutes. The Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) that processed the application of 113 institutes without conducting any ground check. They did it through their letter, and the Chairman Gopalaswami justified it by saying that it would take more than a year. It is saddening to see that their ignorance will cause more damage than improvement, and there is no justification to approve such an important issue just through the letter.
Central Universities are lacking at fund
A parliamentary standing committee on human resource development suggested that Central Universities require more funding as their infrastructures and students and faculty members are more. According to the report submitted on 8th March 2018, it mentions that the fund rate is 0.95 percent lower than 2016-17. As they do more research and need to expand, but the funds are becoming a barrier for them that doesn’t justify to decrease the government financial support.
Even though they try to establish an eminent institute that can compete with global universities, but their ignorance towards the already established universities doesn’t give grounds for such cut. Arvind Panagariya’s statement may be true at one point but not at the cost of compromising with the quality of premier institutes that are present from the last 5 decades. Jio institute eminent tag should not become a problem for premier establishments. The government may be in swift action to bring back the previous glory but the lack of time doesn’t give a justification for this. Otherwise, the same eminent tag would backfire on the premier establishments.
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