Source | The Economic Times : By Sreeradha Basu & Prachi Verma
MUMBAI|NEW DELHI: The IIM Bill, seeking to provide greater autonomy to the marquee B-schools, could just be the vehicle that takes the Indian Institutes of Management beyond their South Asian bailiwick to global leader-boards. Alumni, directors and chairmen of these schools, the first of which began on a modest suburban Calcutta campus about six decades ago, believe that the new bill will help speed up decision-making on faculty appointments and institute directorships, while bringing academic degrees on a par with the nomenclature accepted globally.
“It is an extremely visionary step that will start positioning the IIMs in a different space,” said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson of the IIM Bangalore board of governors. “Autonomy will be an enabler in IIMs becoming world-class and world-beating institutions.”
On January 24, the Union Cabinet cleared a bill allowing degree-granting powers and complete autonomy, combined with accountability, to the IIMs.
Existing IIMs will be able to award degrees instead of diplomas and each IIM board of governors will have the power to appoint its chairperson and director.
Currently, the chairperson and the director are appointed by the ministry.
Awarding students with MBA degrees and PHDs will help give the IIMs the legitimacy they deserve in a global setting.
Although the IIMs have high credibility in South Asia and are recognised as centers of quality business academia by Indian companies, there are issues about the nomenclature of the graduate and doctoral-equivalent diplomas abroad.
The two-year PGDM certificate, unlike the MBA, differs in nomenclature from what is recognised globally.
As of now, the IIMs’ international appeal is largely limited to students of Indian origin.
Diversity of the student population and PhD scholars in its ranks are important benchmarks in the global B-school ranking methodology.
The 2016 annual FT global ranking of the world’s best full-time MBA programmes featured just two IIMs, with IIM Ahmedabad coming in at the 24th spot and IIM Bangalore, at 62nd place.
The Indian school of Business (ISB), based out of two campuses in Mohali and Hyderabad and offering a one-year programme, was the only other Indian institute in the list.
“One benefit to IIMs, when the bill gets enacted, is the degree-granting authority. I hope that this will help us attract more students for our PhD programmes.
For flagship programmes, the ability to award an MBA degree will help some segments of students, for example, foreign students, who find a PGDM diploma challenging to get jobs in their home country,” said Ajit Balakrishnan, chairperson of the board of governors at IIM Calcutta.
Agreed Saibal Chattopadhyay, director of IIM Calcutta: “I only hope that this bill gets cleared as a national priority by the Parliament. We would like the current graduating batch to benefit.”
IIM Lucknow director Ajit Prasad said the legislation would come as a relief to students applying to foreign universities that did not recognise the diplomas awarded by the IIMs.
According to IIM Udaipur director Janat Shah, this bill would help in attracting foreign students and make it easier for the institutes to expand overseas.