Most countries ensure this by forming regulating bodies which establish quality-control guidelines, and then by strictly enforcing them. India however, has always been a bit different. We love Robert Frost and enjoy taking the unconventional path, the road less travelled.
So when we realise that Indian students need access to quality educational institutes, instead of improving the current institutes and bringing up to the same level as the top colleges, we simply open new ones!
When you put together all the colleges and universities that operate in the country, there are more vacant seats in India than there are students to fill them.
Finding out the reason the government would want to open up new IIT and IIM institutes in India is not a simple task. Common sense failed me when I heard this news, and any person I have talked to regarding this, has said that no good can come out of this move. If you remember, hardly a few years have passed us by since the government last expanded the roster of these same institutes and opened up several new chapters for these illustrious organisations.
We do not even know for sure whether this last instalment did any good for the education of India’s youth, and the new government has already announced even more new branches for these popular colleges.
Quantity versus Quality
In the end, the issues boil down to quality versus quantity. Does having more IITs and and IIMs benefit the nation? Doubtful.
At best, it is the dilution of a great brand with the opening of new franchisee. One of the biggest reasons why both IIT and IIM are considered the best educational institutes in the country in their respective domains are because the intense competition makes sure that only the most hardworking and deserving candidates get in.
Each year you see results in the news for these colleges. TV and newspapers plaster the name and face of the top candidates. It is a matter of great pride for all involved.
At worst, this move is another nail in the coffin of a great legacy which is slowly dying under the weight of international expectations.
Passouts from these institutes are highly sought after. The ones from IIM Ahmedabad or IIT Delhi command a starting salary in 7 figures. Every other year we even hear of someone who touches the 8 figure mark. Can anyone seriously expect that quality will be maintained when new colleges are being inaugurated as if they were a new branch of McDonald’s?
This cannot end well for the students who end up taking admission in the newly opened institutes. Even if the government ensures that the same facilities are provided to the students at these new branches, the teaching staff will simply not be able to match up the calibre of the renowned faces who have guided thousands of students at the original institutes.
Companies will be hesitant to hire from the new IITs and IIMs as well, since these colleges have not proven in any way that they are capable of producing the same high quality professionals that the older colleges have proven themselves highly adept at.
This move by the government is just like a spam mail. No one wants it, but there is little that we can do about it.
Just like spammers keep sending promotional emails even when these mails go directly to the spam box, the government too is opening up new IITs and IIMs every other year without pausing to check whether it is having any fruitful results.
If the government is not careful, it may very well turn into the next Dr Batra!