Sam Pitroda cautions Govt against interference in IIMs, IITs

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New Delhi, Apr 23 (UNI) The National Knowledge Commission(NKC) has cautioned the Centre to guard against any measure that could affect the autonomy of IIMs, IITs and other institutions of higher learning.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, NKC Chairperson Sam Pitroda said the direct involvement of Administrative Ministries in the functioning these institutions ''can result in unfortunate situations''.

While praising the recent measures for a major expansion of the higher education sector, Mr Pitroda said ''It is imperative to separate governance mechanisms from the day-to-day operations of the Ministries, in order to protect functional autonomy, in its fullest sense.'' He recommended that a search committee that has an independent Chair, capable of exercising the highest quality of judgment, should make appointment of Directors/Vice Chancellors of the new IITs , IIMs, IISERs, Central Universities and AIIMS.

''The direct involvement of Administrative Ministries can result in unfortunate situations,'' he reiterated.

Other suggestions made by Mr Pitroda to the Prime Minister were: The Procedure for appointment of the Chairperson and members of governing Councils/Boards needs to be carefully crafted in order to ensure that institutions have the benefit of the widest inputs from academia and society.

The involvement of the Chair of the Governing Board and at least two independent members in the selection of the Director /Vice-Chancellor will ensure smooth functioning at later stages of an institution's development.

Appointments of heads of institutions must be made well in advance of a vacancy arising, so that a smooth transition is effected. In view of fixed tenures, there is no reason that this cannot be done in all institutions.

He said the measures taken by the Prime Minister for expansion of education and inclusion ''are probably among the most important steps in making India globally competitive in the long run.

Expansion and inclusiveness, drawing larger sections of Indians into the arena of knowledge, creation and utilisation will be the key drivers to a better future''.

''The National Knowledge Commission would like to draw your attention to the central role of governance structures in allowing these new institutions to grow rapidly, efficiently and productively and also, to review procedures in some of our best existing institutions like IITs, IIMs, Central Universities and AIIMS,'' the letter mentioned.

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