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CONVERSION OF CUSAT TO IIEST:  AN APPEAL

 

CUSAT: Mission and Vision

The University of Cochin was established in 1971, with a view to promote Post Graduate teaching and research in frontier areas of Science and Technology, Humanities and Social Science. It has contributed a lot towards the development of the knowledge base of the state of Kerala as a center of higher learning in the disciplines of Science, Social Science, Marine Science, Humanities, Law and Technology. The mission and vision of the University was recognized jointly by the then ruling and opposition parties. This understanding, it is said, has paved the way for appointment of Professor Joseph Mundassery, Minister for education in the EMS Ministry of 1957, as the first Vice Chancellor of the University. It came into existence to protect and promote the educational, industrial and commercial needs of the State. Its contribution to the city of Cochin is particularly remarkable, and now Cochin has emerged as a knowledge and economic hub of the state. Later, courses in emerging fields such as Ship Technology and Naval Architecture, Polymer Science and Rubber Technology, Marine Biology, Industrial Fisheries, Oceanography, Meteorology, Marine Geology, Hydrochemistry, Environmental Studies, Industrial Catalysis, Photonics and Laser Optics, Opto-electronics, and many more subjects were introduced in the University, besides the fundamental subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Statistics.  CUSAT is considered to be the forerunner in starting such new generation courses in India.

 

In 1986, the University was renamed as the “Cochin University of Science & Technology” [CUSAT], by an act of the Kerala State Legislature, namely the Cochin University of Science & Technology Act, 1986 (31 of 1986). During its three and a half decades of existence, the Cochin University of Science and Technology had followed a unique evolutionary path, quite distinct from such other institutions in the state of Kerala and elsewhere. Within the framework of a totally democratic environment, successive Governments in the state patronized the University all along. CUSAT now possesses a commendable academic culture and a passion for quality in an inimitable way. CUSAT has always been an Institution, which has accomplished international rating in attainments.

 

The introduction of the Self Financing Engineering Colleges in the State of Kerala in 1991 and giving recognition under CUSAT is considered to be the first negative step towards the designed developmental activity of this University. CUSAT is a University with unitary character and its ACT does not generally permit recognition or affiliation of aided or unaided colleges. The introduction of self-financing courses under the University in 1995 and the College of Engineering in Pulinkunnu in 1999 changed the priorities of the University. The conduct of examinations of about 26 recognized Engineering Colleges and the two colleges of the University became the main task of the authorities. Even now, the University retains its status as a University with a potential for improvement only because of its extraordinary contributions in Post graduate programmes and research. The present selection of CUSAT for conversion to IIT by the Dr. Joshi Committee, or to IIEST by Ananthakrishnan Committee, all the earlier selections for Centre of Excellence by UGC, for MHO programme of the Netherlands, etc were based on its contributions in the field of PG teaching and Research. All these nominations were made after evaluating all the Universities in India. CUSAT is already a University of repute and that status is to be maintained at any cost..

 

During the last 36 years of its existence, CUSAT has lived up to its goals. There were two major aberrations in its path; 1) the affiliation of self-financing private engineering colleges and 2) the introduction of self-financing engineering courses under SOE and CUCEK.  Even then, CUSAT could accomplish its goals in Post Graduate Teaching and Research. Enrolment or access in CUSAT, so far, has been merit based and it has all through adhered to the principles of equity and social justice. An affordable fee in general and special financial assistance to the weaker sections was the rule practiced in CUSAT. It is to be noted that CUSAT has never failed in these social obligations.  Normally, administrators start thinking of converting an existing Institution to some other form, only when it has failed in its mission. But here, it is not the case.

 

IIEST : The Genesis

 

Up - gradation of CUSAT : The Propaganda

During the past two years we have heard so much about Upgrading CUSAT.  First, we were told that CUSAT was going to become an IIT.  Later it was changed to a second tire IIT; still changed to IIT like institution.  Now we hear that it is going to become IIEST.

 

Initially, we were told about S K Joshy committee report. Later we were told about Anandakrishnan Committee report. These two reports were made available to the public in the first week of October, 2006.  While going through the Joshy Committee report, one can see that the recommendation was specifically for up-grading CUSAT and other institutions to IIT.  But from the very beginning of the constitution of Anandakrishnan Committee the proposal for up-gradation to IIT vanished.   It is understood that the powerful IIT lobby (those who are at the helm of affairs of the present 7 IIT s) raised their protest against inducting more institutions in the IIT fold.

 

We started hearing about the up-gradation since May 2005. Then it was the hallow of an IIT. A “sacred” document called VISION Document ( with out any Vision) was prepared.[1] Till May 2006, no body in the University except a few ‘enlightened academia’ could know what this sacred document was. It is understood that, on several occasions, the HOD s asked about the document. They were assured of being provided with the document,   but the promises remained unfulfilled till June 2006. The authorities wanted to hide the folly in the report from the university community. It seems that many facts were twisted and there were lot of factual errors in the report. The report is a classic example of the undemocratic practices of the authorities. It also reveals the lack of professionalism of our university authorities. The strength and potential of CUSAT was not adequately presented before the Joshy Committee or the Ananthakrishnan Committee. Hence the committees graded CUSAT behind the Institute of Technology of Banaris Hindu University and the Bengal Engineering College (BESU) and at par with the Engineering Colleges under Osmania University and Andhra University.

 

The Anandakrishnan Committee report was finalized in the second week of February, 2006.  It had clearly and un equivocally proposed the name IIEST to the new brand of institutions ( the cluster of five institutions  considered for up-gradation). This was made known to our Vice Chancellor during the meeting on 3rd March 2006 at New Delhi.  But till October, 8th, 2006 he had been telling us that we are going to have IIT – like institution. Till then the Anandakrishnan Committee report was kept secret, (like the vision document).

 

IIEST : For the private self-financing engineering sector

 

1. The U R Rao Committee Report [2]

In the year, 2002, The Central Govt. had appointed a five member Committee under Dr. U. R. Rao (former Chairman, ISRO) to study the problems associated with technical education in the country.  The Committee submitted its report in 2003 (Revitalizing Technical Education ).  The Genesis of IIEST is from this report.  During the last 10-15 years innumerous number of Engineering colleges (most of them in the private self financing sector) have sprang up all over the country. Obviously, these belong to highly influential people having affiliation to the ruling parties. These colleges are now run with acute shortage of qualified teachers. The AICTE has expressed concern over the lack of qualified teachers. The U. R. Rao Committee has estimated that about 10000 Ph. D holders (in Engineering) and 30000 M. Tech graduates are required to fill up the vacant faculty positions in the Engineering Colleges.

The new trend in the job market does not allow a fresh B. Tech / M. Tech graduate to choose a teaching career. They take up teaching career only as the last resort. B. Tech. / M. Tech.  graduates passing out from IIT s and to some extent, NIT s do not remain in the country; they fly abroad in the first chance they get. Thus with the present set up, there is no way to generate a pool of qualified engineering graduates who are willing to opt teaching as their profession.

 

This led to the idea of starting a new brand of Institutions of National Importance, with tailor made objectives of generating a pool of Post Graduates in Engineering suitable only for teaching profession. Thus IIEST s are designed in such a way that they will offer M. Tech Degree (dual B.Tech – M. Tech degree)  with no scope of lateral exit with a B. Tech degree. It is envisaged that after 5 years, these institutes will be producing 5000 M. Tech degree holders per year. [3]

 

Thus the Scope of IIEST s is very limited. We should have a rethink about sacrificing a leading Science and Technology University (CUSAT) for this limited purpose. [CUSAT is one among the top 10 Universities in the Countyr as assessed by the UGC].

 

2. The S. K. Joshy Committee Report [4]

In the year 2003, the then Prime Minister of India, Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared that a new IIT would be started in Hyderabad (to appease Mr. Chandrababu Naidu). Realizing the difficulty in starting a new IIT, the MHRD had appointed a Committee headed by Dr. S. K. Joshy ( former Director General , CSIR) to identify prominent institutions in the country which have the potential for being upgraded to IIT s. Dr. S. K. Joshi Committee after evaluating all the Universities and other Institutions identified 40 Institutions across the country, of which CUSAT was one, which could be considered for up-gradation to the IIT level. All the other institutions except CUSAT were either simply Engineering Colleges or Institutes of Technology affiliated to or managed by certain Universities. The Joshy Committee considered CUSAT also as a Technological Institute. CUSAT authorities had failed miserably to or had committed an unpardonable mistake by not highlighting the true strength of CUSAT ( its contributions in the realm of PG teaching and research). The authorities failed to convince the Committee the fact that CUSAT was a full fledged University and was much above an Engineering College or Technical Institute.  The fact that the undergraduate engineering section of CUSAT (both at Thrikkakara and Pulinkunnu) is in the self-financing stream and that it is not up to the mark in terms of academic requirements, was not considered properly.

 

The Joshi Committee excluded the NIT s (former REC s) from their consideration as the NIT s had deemed University Status. Also 50% of the admissions are for students from the respective states and the up gradation to IIT s will drastically change this aspect of NIT serving a local need, and may evoke adverse reaction. Also, REC s were converted to NIT s as the first stage in the process of their elevation to IIT status.

1.      The intention of the Joshi Committee was to identify premier engineering institutes for up-gradation to IIT as was evidenced from the criteria they fixed for the selection of the institute. Unfortunately CUSAT was also considered in the fold of Engineering Institute

2.      Following were the Bench marks decided by the committee in view of the parameters of the seven existing IIT s

i)              At least 50% of the total faculty should have Ph.D.

ii)             There should be more than 30 publications in standard journals per year

iii)           The Institution should have produced 25 or more Ph. D s during 2000-03

iv)           Should be offering 10 post graduate engineering programmes and 5 undergraduate engineering programmes – more than 6 Engineering Departments.

v)            Student population > 1500 – annual intake of under graduate Engineering – 250

vi)           Physical infrastructure – hostel for 1000 students, residential accommodation for 50% of existing faculty

vii)         Institution should become completely free from the control of the mother University

viii) Should be existing for the last 20 years

3.      A comparison of the performance of the CUSAT with the IIT has been done by the Joshi Committee, which is given below.

Academic feature

Committee’s criteria

IIT Level

CUSAT Level

Faculty

Majority of professors and Readers should have Ph.D

100% Professors and Associate Professors have Ph.D

Ph.D   Non Ph.D*

L – 18      110

R – 54       31

P – 57          1

Research Publications

More than 30 papers in refereed journals a year

About 450 per year

About 350 – 400 per year

Patents

Due weightage

20 patents/year

14

Research Guidance

25 Ph. Ds in previous 3 years

About 70 Ph.D s in a year

Abut 65–70 PhDs per year

Physical Infrastructure

About 100 Acres

More than 500 Acres

About 300 Acres

National Facilities

Not Specified

At least 5 major facilities

2 Major national facility

* In CUSAT, teachers with out Ph D degree belong to the self financing sector only

 

It is clear that the post graduate teaching and research departments of CUSAT are at par with IIT.  Here, there should be some understanding about the actual facts and academic ambience prevailing in IIT s and CUSAT. In IIT s, the selection of students is based on an all India test. The Creamy layer of students belonging to the age group 17- 20 is selected.  They belong to the most elite class. They start the preparation for the IIT JEE at the age of 10. IIT s have been nourished by the successive governments at the Center by pumping in huge capital investment. The annual budget of IIT s makes to the tune of 800 – 900 crores. In these two aspects, CUSAT stands nowhere near the IIT s.  But the output in terms of quantity is comparable to IIT s with meager investment. This makes the achievements of CUSAT all the more appealing. Also, the fees structure in IIT s is not affordable to students belonging to the weaker sections.

 

Maximum efficiency Vs Total Efficiency

            Centres of excellence (like central Universities, IIT’s and  IISc etc) were set up to generate maximum efficiency.  When you give the best form of training to a selected few, associated with the best possible facilities, we are bound to think that maximum efficiency could be achieved.  We have been thinking about attaining maximum efficiency for the selected few. But when we try to attain maximum efficiency for the privileged, we will be pulling the 85% of the society to utter toil and despair.  This is imposed in the Indian system by virtue of the dynamics of the caste system.  In a social system, attaining maximum efficiency shall not be the goal.  We can think of only total efficiency. While trying to attain total efficiency, we should accept the principle of ‘preferential opportunity’ to the deprived. During this process, the society as a whole will advance.

 

The Facts about CUSAT

Similar to IIT s and IISc, 100% Professors and Readers of the Postgraduate and  Research Departments of CUSAT have Ph. D Degree

 

Similar to IIT s and IISc,  CUSAT  is also producing  on an average 65-70  PhD’s per year (according to  the annual report of the CUSAT, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006)

 

Similar to IIT s and IISc, CUSAT is also publishing more than 450 Research Papers. (According to Annul Report 2006-2007 the number is 460)

 

While  IIT s and IISc are  admitting  more Male (80%) students in  Postgraduate and  Research programmes , CUSAT is admitting more Female students (60%) .

 

While in IIT s and IISc, reservation is restricted to students belonging to Scheduled Casts and Scheduled Tribes, CUSAT  is providing reservation to all deprived communities.

 

Male to Female ratio in B. Tech   admission at IIT s  is ~ 10:1 where as in CUSAT, it  is ~ 4:1

 

3. The Ananthakrishnan Committee Report [5]

As a continuation of the recommendations of the Joshi Committee, a Committee headed by Dr. Ananthakrishnan was appointed for an in depth evaluation of seven of the identified Institutions for up-gradation to the level of IIT s. The Academics as well as the people in Kerala at large in fact supported the move for conversion of CUSAT to IIT and the Cochin University Teachers’ Association was there in the forefront to advocate for the conversion to IIT. But the Committee headed by Dr. Ananthakrishnan came out with a new proposal for converting five institutions to a new system of Technical Education under the banner of  IIEST. The institutions identified are :

a.             The Institute of Technology of Banarus Hindu University,

b.            The Bengal Engineering College ( Renamed in 2003 as BESU),

c.             College of Engineering of Andhra University,

d.            University College of Engineering of Osmania University and

e.             The Cochin University of Science and Technology

 

Of the five, four of them, are Engineering Colleges only and the fifth one is CUSAT!.  The Academic and budgetary recommendations are totally engineering oriented. It is a pity that the academic intelligentsia as well as a section of the media pundits have failed to recognize the difference between a University and an Engineering College.

 

The Budgetary provisions suggested are :[6]

 

Recurring

 

Non recurring

Faculty Salary + pension           12.05

Staff  ,,                                     9.04

Ph.D. Fellowship                      2.76

M.Tech Fellowship                   2.15

Operating expences                  2.83

Ele. & water                             3.00

Books & Journals                     3.86

Tele/post/internet                      0.80

Maintenance(Campus+Inst)      3.10

Security                                    0.72

Travel                                       1.38

Transport local             0.25

Health care                               2.14

Annual Maintenance Equp        0.50

Guest house operation              0.18

Startup grant to new faculty       0.77

Overall contingency                  0.77

 

Total                            46.30 per year

Rs. 231.5 crore for 5 years

 

Renovation Student accommodation                 2.60

New Construction staff

Accommodation                                             14.40

Renovation Faculty residence                            1.00

Construction new Faculty residence             50.00

Renovation Staff Accommodation                     0.46

Construction new staff acc                             13.00

Married students Accommodation                     4.00

Project staff hostel                                            6.00

Visiting faculty accommodation             2.80

Campus development- Roads, parks etc       25.00

Total                                                            119.56

 

Common Provision for Lecture halls,

Auditorium                                                     85.75

Modernisation of Depts and

Administration                                    62.00

New Centres of Excellence                             20.00

 

 

Grand Total       :   518. 81 crores

 

 

 

 

 

No funds for improving academic activities

 

The award of Rs 518 crores by the Ananthakrishnan committee does not carry any substantial allocation for improving the academic activities. Most of the funds are allocated for beautification of the campus including roads, compound wall, gardening, canteen and similar other civil works. No money is set apart for improving the instrumentation/ lab facilities.

 

Present CUSAT Budget [7]

The attraction of the new proposal was projected to be the substantial financial support. But, when we compare the offered financial support and the CUSAT budget, in the recurring sector, the CUSAT is a looser. Actual receipts during 2005 – 06 was Rs.45.35 crores (Non Plan + Plan), during (2006-07) was Rs.70.18 crores and this years (2007 – 08) estimate is Rs. 127.57  crores, where as the Committee has recommended an amount of only Rs. 46.30 crores per year (It includes the different expenditures that are in the present plan and non plan sectors. The internal revenue after the conversion will be almost balancing with the internal revenue in the self-financing sector); at the same time it wants to take away the CUSAT.

Budget of CUSAT during the 10th plan period

 


Year                    Receipts      Actual                                           Expenditure

                       Non Plan       Plan    Self financing      Non Plan      Plan          Self financing

2002-03                 24.88      13.98                                    21.02         8.84          

2003-04                 25.66      12.61         30.95                  22.11         10.07

2004-05                 28.50      11.31         12.23                  23.68         12.62               11.80  

2005-06                 29.66      15.69         15.99                  28.45         16.39               16.95

2006-07                 31.54      38.64         16.83                  38.15         45.33               37.67

2007-08 *              44.45      83.12          51.15                 43.85         78.82               39.23            

*  The proposed income and expenditure for the year 2007-2008  may not be the actuals.

 

The rest of the money offered by the Committee can be obtained through different developmental projects from the Central Agencies and programmes, if the State Government gives an active support. During the year, 2006-07, the University has got Rs.10 crores from the UGC under the Technology Fund (TEQIP. ) In the Xth Plan period, UGC had allotted Rs. 30.00 crores for establishing a Centre of Excellence in Laser and Optoelectronic Science (The University got 5 crores initially and did not spent much of it and so could not claim the rest of the amount ( Rs. 25.00 crores) because of miss management). 

 

The Assets of CUSAT: The State is at a Loss

During the last 36 years of existence of CUSAT, the State Government has invested about Rs. 3000 crores for building up the infrastructure.  CUSAT has in its possession 300 acres of Land (three campuses at Thrikkakara, in the heart of Ernakulam City and at Pulinkunnu), with good buildings and necessary infrastructure facilities including Computer networking and Internet facility (which is one of the best in the country) and very good library.   The state Government has invested so much funds for the benefit of the students of the state; to provide quality education and research opportunities.  The common students of the state were highly benefited by the high quality education and training imparted by CUSAT in various disciplines of Science, Marine (Ocean ) Science,  Social Science, Humanities and Law; with affordable fees. Many of the courses offered by CUSAT are unique in their structure and content. The MBA and LLM courses offered by CUSAT are rated best of their kind in the country. Conversion to IIEST will render these courses to peril. The fees structure at the proposed IIEST will be unaffordable to the common students of the state (similar to the IIT s, IIM s and NIT s). The state will be at a loss if we hand over the CUSAT to the Central Government for a trifling amount of Rs. 518 crores.

 

Admission to IIEST: the Students of Kerala will be at a Loss

The Recommendations of the Ananthakrishnan Committee do not provide justice to the students of Kerala. It is proposed that 30 % of seats in all courses will be reserved for foreign students. Even if the Central Govt. agrees for 50 % reservation of seats for the students from the state, the number of seats available for students from the state will be much less than that available now.

 

Now CUSAT is admitting 2300 students (1200 students in B. Tech, M. Sc, M. Tech, MCA and Ph. D under regular stream in the postgraduate and research departments along with 1100 B. Tech, BCA and MCA in self financing stream in SOE, CUCEK and CUCCAK). Out of this, 90% of students in the post graduate teaching and research departments (regular stream) are from the state of Kerala. Here the male- female ratio is 2:3. In the self-financing B. Tech/ BCA/ MCA stream, the present percentage of Kerala students is roughly 40%, due to the present style of conducting the CAT on an all India basis. In this stream, the male-female ratio is about 4:1.

Present intake of CUSAT

Course

Kerala Students

Outside Kerala

Total

B.Tech/M.Tech/M.Sc/MCA/

M.Phil/Ph.D in  Regular Stream at Post Graduate Teaching and Research Departments

 

 

1080

(90%)

 

 

120

(10%)

 

 

1200

(100%)

B.Tech/BCA/MCA in Self financing Stream at SOE , CUCEK and CUCCAK

 

440

(40%)

 

660

(60%)

 

1100

Total

1520

780

2300

 

In the proposed IIEST

Course

Kerala Students

(50 %)

Outside Kerala

(20 %)

Foreign Students (30%)

Total

5year integrated B.Tech-M.Tech, M.Sc

350

140

210

700

2 Year M.Tech., M.Sc

250

100

150

500

Ph.D

60

24

36

120

Total

660

264

396

1320

 

We can realize that, in an all India competitive examination, the percentage of girl students passing out successfully will be very limited.  Thus the girl students from the state will be at a much more loss; now they are at an advantage in CUSAT.

 

Conversion to IIEST: Social Justice is Denied

The conversion of CUSAT to IIEST will lead to the denial of social justice, with regard to the admission of students belonging to SC/ ST, OBC etc. At present, CUSAT is providing admission to all sections of socially and educationally backward communities of the state. Since most of the courses offered by CUSAT are classified as professional courses, distinct percentages of seats are reserved for SC/ ST (20 %), OBC, OBH, OBX and SEBC (25%) and physically handicapped (5 %) students. But when CUSAT is converted to IIEST, these reservation opportunities will be lost. Thus during the next four years, the number of Seats lost by different categories of students will be:

SC/ ST                                     : 1416

OBC/OBH/OBX/SEBC           : 2070

PH                                           : 263

Total                                       :3749

Thus out of the 5300 seats lost by the Kerala students, 3749 will belong to SC/ ST, OBC, OBH, OBX, SEBC and physically handicapped.

 

IIEST –A Globalization Agenda

 

The genesis of IIEST is part of the globalization –privatization agenda. The present level of employability of B Tech graduates passing out from the Engineering colleges in India is very poor due to the pathetic quality of education provided in such colleges. The global job market demands more percentage of readily employable ( with out spending much for training) B Tech graduates. For this, the quality of engineering education has to be considerably improved. INI s like IIEST may be helpful in producing high quality engineering graduates/ post graduates suitable for the global job market. Post modernism has put man as the center of the Universe.  Also Money has become the measure of Man. Hence profit motivation has been guiding people who are advocates of globalization and market economy. Market cannot have a human face. It cannot be inclusive. It will always try to exclude the deprived and the under privileged.

 

The proposal before the MHRD clearly mentions about private –public participation for setting up IIEST brand of Institutions. During the 11th plan period a lump sum grant of ~500 crores may be given to the institutions. But the proposal keeps silence about the funding after 11th   plan period. It is envisaged that these institutions will be the first trial dose of private participation as envisioned by the Higher Education Commission 2002 (Ambani Commission).  We have a bitter experience regarding the former KTDC Hotel (SAMUDRA) at Kovalam.

 

Ugradation to IIT status – The case of  NIT s

 

In the year 2002,14 REC s across the country were converted to NIT s ,which was considered as the first stage in elevating these institutions to IIT level. But during the last five years, no substantial improvements has occurred to the NIT s. They have not reached the IIT level. Even though large amount of funds were pumped into the NIT s, no improvements has been noticed in their research out puts. In many of the NIT s several instruments/ equipments purchased out of the funds received are lying idle with out being used. Thus it is seen that availability of funds alone will not improve academic standards and research out put.

 

Take Over of CUSAT: Federalism at Stake

The Concept of take over of an Institution owned by a State of the Indian Union in the name of up gradation or elevation is totally against the principles of federalism. India is a federal state with 29 states and several Union territories, with multitudes of languages, culture and ethnicity. The principle of National Integration is “Diversity in Unity”. The State Universities (like CUSAT) are established with a view to reflect this diversity in culture and as a means of regional development. CUSAT has achieved a certain level of quality and quantity during the 36 years of its existence. This was mainly with the help of investment by the State Government and through research projects sponsored by several Agencies of the Central Government. CUSAT is considered for take over by virtue of its achievements in the field of PG teaching and research. The State Government has made so much investment for the sake of providing high quality education to the students of the state at affordable fees. But now, when the Central Government is trying to take over CUSAT, the interests of the Students of the State are at peril. This tendency of take over or acquisition by the Central Government is against the principles of federalism. The Central Government should continue to support CUSAT, in a much larger way, if it considers CUSAT as a University with a potential for development, retaining State Ownership.

 

What happens upon conversion

 

1) The State of Kerala will lose a Science and Technology University of international repute. The State has made an investment worth Rs. 3000 crores. It has to be forsaken for a paltry amount of Rs. 518 crores

 

2) CUSAT has served a social cause during the three decades of its existence. On take over, this is at stake.

 

3) The proposed fund allocation does not provide scope for considerable improvement in academic standards and research out put.

 

4) The thrust of IIEST will be for engineering education. The Departments under the faculty of Science, Social Science, Humanities and Law will be at peril. At present, in CUSAT, these are the leading Departments, which have brought fame and glory to CUSAT

 

5) In every year, the intake of Kerala students may be reduced from 1520 to 660; in addition to limiting the admission of female students

 

6) During the next four years, out of the 5300 seats lost by the Kerala students, 3749 will belong to the depressed class.

 

7). After the 11th plan, there is no guaranty that the institution will be a public funded one

 

8) Employment opportunity for qualified youth from Kerala will be considerably reduced while following IIT pattern

 

9) Presence of 30% foreign students in a small place may cause trouble to local people.

Scope for Alternative Proposals: Major Initiatives of the Central Government

At this point, one should explore the scope of alternative proposals, instead of converting CUSAT to IIEST

 

  1. The Prime Minister of India, in his Independence Day Speech (15th August 2007) had declared “In order to promote science and professional education, we are setting up five new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, eight new Indian Institutes of Technology, seven new Indian Institutes of Management, and twenty new Indian Institutes of Information Technology. These will generate new educational opportunities for our youth. I am sure that, working together, we can ensure that at least a fifth of our children go to college as compared to one-tenth now”.
  2. The Prime Minister also declared “The University system, which has been relatively neglected in recent years, is now the focus of our reform and development agenda. We will set up thirty new Central Universities. Every state that does not have a central university will now have one”.
  3. The National Knowledge Commission has opined that, “a specific plan for upgrading a few existing select Universities with a potential for improvement must be formulated, laying down specific parameters which are in tune with global standards. One University in each state should be made a Model University through all-round up-gradation during 11th plan. Select state Universities should be upgraded to the level of Central Universities, where a share of maintenance expenditure could be met centrally and the state and the centre could share the development needs”.
  4. We have no wonder that the Budget for the year 2007 – 08 presented by the Finance Minister for the Government of India does not contain any mention of the IIEST or not even a passing remark. At the same time in tune with the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission, the UGC has been provided with a higher allocation to meet the requirements of the Universities. Special fund has been included for Chennai, Kolkota and Mumbai Universities also.

5.     The Budget contains allocation for three new IIT s, which will be started in the 11th Plan, and also for three more Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in addition to the existing two. There are also provisions for a number of new Institutes like Indian Institute of Information Technology at Kanchipuram etc.

6.     It is to be noted that the ISRO is setting up an engineering and technology institute at Thiruvananthapuram. There is thus no scope for another engineering institution in the state. 

 

Alternative Proposals

 

Under these circumstances, we feel that the Government should not decline the offer of Central Assistance.

 

1. The State Government should impress upon the Central Government to set up an IIT and an IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) in the State. The academic community as well as the public in the state should work together for achieving the proposal.

 

2.      The CUSAT shall be upgraded as a Model University ( State Owned), Or to the level of a  Central University (still keeping the State Ownership) as suggested in the approach paper of the XIth Plan, where a share of maintenance expenditure could be met centrally and the state and the centre could share the development needs and

 

3.      The Engineering Colleges under CUSAT shall be converted to the IIEST as in the case of all other Institutions considered for conversion to IIEST.

 

Reference

 

1.      Vision IIT: Detailed project report, submitted by the vice chancellor to HRD Ministry, Govt. of India, May, 2005. www.cusat.ac.in

 

2.      U.R.Rao, ‘Revitalizing Technical Education’ Report submitted to HRD Ministry, November, 2003.

 

3.      Feature Article: Engineering Education in India: A story of Contrast, WENR, Vol.1, 2007.

 

 

4.      S.K. Joshy, Expert Committee Report on Upgradation of selected Institution to IIT level, Report submitted to HRD Ministry, February, 2004

 

5.      M. Ananthakrishnan, Report of the Expert Committee on Transformation of selected Technical Institutions into a new system of INIs, submitted to HRD Ministry, February, 2006

 

6.      M. Ananthakrishnan, Report of the Expert Committee, Pages 81-83

 

7.      CUSAT Budget proposals   2002-2007

 

 

                                                                                     

Contact person:  Dr. Joseph Makkolil, E-Mail: jmakkolil@gmail.com