WHY IITs ARE IMPORTANT TO THE NATION?
“The best higher education is a model and a source of pressure for creating a modern civil society. This is an ideal not often realized hut is nevertheless a standard against which to measure national systems”
WORLD BANK TASK FORCE REPORT:
“Higher Education in Developing Countries:
Peril and Promise 2000”
have made a global mark with their high quality undergraduate (UG) education. B. Tech graduates from the IITs have made a very significant impact in various domains. B. Tech degree holders from IITs play a leadership role in Indian industry and R&D organizations. They have also provided some PhDs to educational Institutions (in addition to industry). IITs have created all the relevant ingredients and the best platforms to lead the Innovation and Technology Development movementin the nation.
IITian could ‘think a better solution’ than others because they are more ‘focussed’ towards their goals. They are passionate to look for solutions. The most important thing, it is not brain that makes an IITian exceptional but it is their decision-making and priorities that distinguishes from the rest of crowd.
Their consistent performance assiduously kept up in the last fifty years has attracted not only nation-wide acclaim for them but provided them international commendation, which they so richly deserve. What are those features associated with the IITs that have contributed to their brand as institutes of excellence?
The nation-wide examination that the IITs conduct to select die most deserving for admission has proved to be a significantly effective filter. At one time the ICS and, later on, the IAS examinations conducted for graduates in any discipline throughout the country enjoyed a great reputation. Such a reputation was based on transparency and rigour of the selection process. No wonder those that withstood the pressure and succeeded in the selection, from among the several thousand that attempted, shone as visionary builders of our institutions. They stood apart as exemplary guardians of die nation’s stability and committed their indefatigable energy and contribution to India’s economic and social development. It may not be an exaggeration to state that the JEE, held for the 12"' grade students, in recent times has perhaps eclipsed these and a myriad other competitive examinations in its ability to pick the most outstanding from a very large gene pool. In nurturing the IIT system with the ablest in this way, the JEE is singularly responsible for accomplishing the brand image to India. The IITs have thus emerged as a cradle for India’s future leaders.
The International competitiveness of the IIT undergraduates is reflected in their performance at the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) of the USA, an examination for graduates from all over the world. A comparison of the performance levels at the GRE between the IIT B.Tech.s and those of the three of the best institutions in the world is made . In no other sphere have any of our Universities and Institutes of higher education come anywhere near MIT, Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley, USA, — Institutions which rank among the world’s top ten Universities. (A global consultancy firm, Mckinsey, has reported that they have more IIT graduates in their worldwide work force than those from any other University in the world). It is this kind of topnotch performance of IIT graduates that, inter alia, has infused self-esteem and self- reliance in the Indian mind.
Our endeavor from now on should be to address the question as to whether the IITs have realized their full potential. Suffice it to say at this stage that, if we have to pick a dozen technical institutions in the country which have the highest potential to become the dominant players in a knowledge intensive society the seven IITs will easily figure among them.Why do we say that the IITs have the potential? It is because, whether in original research or in product design or product development, IITs have often clearly demonstrated their high level of competence.
Times have changed and “we stand today on the edge of a new frontier*'. The world has transited from industrial revolution and from industrial economy to knowledge revolution and toward knowledge economy. In this changed scenario, global economies are getting integrated. R&D is crossing national borders. India, with its large pool of technical graduates, is confronting new challenges. They are indeed of a kind that suits India’s genius. There is, therefore, a new opportunity for India to seize upon. The nature of products of immeasurable economic worth will henceforth be knowledge- based, requiring minimal capital unlike the conventionally manufactured industrial products that guzzle huge capital. Here is where the IITs must have their prominent presence.How can one define knowledge economy? A good definition could be that knowledge economy is characterized by the highest number of the best-trained, productive individuals. In other words, highly educated, research-oriented human capital of the creative class would be the bedrock of the knowledge economy