Advocating a common entrance test for admitting candidates to management programmes offered by the over 3,000 private institutions in the country, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal emphasised that quality in higher education was impossible without uniformity in standards.
“I am not sure about the quality of curriculum in these institutions,” Mr. Sibal said on Tuesday after laying the foundation stone for Indian Institute of Management-Tiruchi (IIM-T).
Citing the revised norms of AICTE on FSI (Floor Space Index) and FAR (Floor Area Ratio) in order to offer scope for institutions to expand vertically, he predicted enormous scope for private sector to start management institutions in large numbers.
Mr. Sibal dissuaded management students from opting for lucrative jobs in the Western world, saying that much of the activities of the world were centred in the region encompassing India and China.
For a better understanding of opportunities and challenges, he urged MBA students to come out with management solutions to the various challenges that the country faced on the fronts of education, health, agriculture and other sectors. With India poised to become the largest populated country with 1.7 billion people by 2050, management solutions must factor in technology and be suitably routed to address sector and region-specific complexities with a sense of urgency.
Terming the occasion a historic moment, Mr. Sibal expressed the hope that girls, who have been creating a revolution in India by outshining boys in very many spheres, would constitute at least half of the entrants to IIM-T.
The HRD Minister complimented Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the State Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy for carrying out educational reforms.
Minister of State in the Ministry of HRD D. Purandeswari said Tiruchi, known as an educational hub for decades, would now be identified nationally and internationally with IIM-T.
By virtue of liberalisation process that started two decades ago, India could register significant economic progress even surmounting global recession.
As India gains an important role in the global scenario, the future challenge was in developing leadership at various levels.
The dichotomy reflecting in islands of excellence in a sea of underdevelopment warrants handling with management expertise for converting the social advantage accruing from demographic dividend into economic prosperity, she said.
Thanking the Centre for sanctioning in its present term three central institutions (Central University of Tamil Nadu, Tiruvarur; IIM-T and the proposed institution of international standards in Coimbatore), Mr. Ponmudy wanted higher educational institutions to nurture independent thinking by learners and prepare them for global competition. Be it management, technical subjects or basic sciences, there must be a research orientation in the learning process, he stressed, acknowledging that the existing teaching methods, which foster rote learning, need to be changed.
State Minister for Forests N. Selvaraj; Chairman of the Board of Governors, IIM-T, M. Damodaran; and Director of IIM-Bangalore Pankaj Chandra, offered felicitations.
Additional Secretary in the Ministry of HRD Ashok Thakur; Principal Secretary of Higher Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, K. Ganesan; and Director of IIM-T Prafulla Agnihothri also took part.