IIT-M will be on the next ‘eminence’ list: Ramamurthi

Bhaskar Ramamurthi

Bhaskar Ramamurthi  

‘Missed first list as only 3 public institutions were chosen’

Expressing confidence that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras will be on the next list of “institutions of eminence”, its director, Bhaskar Ramamurthi, said the college did not make it to the first one because just three public institutions were chosen and the QS rankings rather than the official NIRF rankings were used to compile it.

In an interview with The Hindu , Professor Ramamurthi said, “The empowered committee came up with a list of eight public institutions, which included IIT Madras. The government decided on only three public and three private institutions in the first instance. The UGC (University Grants Commission) decided the three on the basis of the QS rankings, where two other IITs were ahead of us. We wish they had used the official NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework) rankings instead.”

He said that IIT Madras would certainly be on the next list.

The empowered committee for selecting these institutions is headed by former Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami.

Asked whether the category of greenfield institutions, which are not yet born, should have been included in the list, the IIT-M director said, “The title eminence is misleading. Perhaps they wanted to break into the top gobal rankings. And private institutions say they can do much better with autonomy. The thought behind their selection was perhaps to give them that. Later, it was also decided to bring greenfield institutions after assessing their proposals. I agree on the nomenclature part. But the empowered committee is eminent and I am sure they knew what they were doing. They are the best persons to answer this question.”

‘Perception is reality’

Professor Ramamurthi added that breaking into the rankings did not require much on the part of even new institutions, as these were heavily survey-driven. “You can bring in some people and raise your ranking...” he said, adding that Germany and the U.S. did not care much for global rankings.

“However, perception is reality and there is no harm in trying to enhance our institutional rankings,” he said, adding that the “eminence” tag would add 20% to the budget of IIT Madras.

Difference in salary

Saying that the IITs had asked the Centre to permit them to hire regular rather than just contractual foreign faculty, Professor Ramamurthi said that there should be no difference in salary on the basis of nationality. “That will be unjust to some of our faculty, who have made us what we are without caring for high salaries. If at all we move towards differential salaries, these should be based on achievement rather than nationality.”

On the NIRF, he said it was a good, largely data-based ranking framework, but added that sometimes private institutions ranked higher on placements as their students got placed through the placement cell, which is taken into account, while many PhD students of IITs were placed through their guides.

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