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IIT Council sets up 4 committees to look at graded autonomy to funding mechanism

New Delhi: The IIT Council Monday set up four committees to look at a range of issues – from funding to graded autonomy – of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and decided to go for “rationalisation of staff from current standard to a lower number”.

Besides, the IIT Council headed by education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal also decided to take up issues like rationalisation of staff, mobility of faculties between the classroom and the industries, grooming faculties to become directors and wider use of technology in education operations and dissemination. IIT Council is the apex decision-making body of the IITs.

“Digital Transformation using blockchain, AI (Artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), and Cloud Computing at IITs also came up for discussion during the meeting. It was recommended to constitute a taskforce to review use of technology at all IITs and also to accelerate deployment of digital tools. It was also recommended to undertake rationalization of staff from current standards to a lower number,” the ministry said.

However, it did not elaborate on the rationalisation of staff and whether this includes reduction of both teaching and non-teaching staff. IITs together are currently facing a shortage of staff by nearly 39%, as per official data.

On four committees, the ministry said: “On the basis of the recommendation of the Chairman of Standing Committee for IIT Council, four Working Groups were constituted on the following issues related to NEP-2020: Group-1: Graded Autonomy, Empowered and accountable BoG and Director; Group-2: Grooming distinguished academics for directorship of IITs; Group-3: Reform and restructuring of the Academic Senate; Group-4: Innovative funding mechanisms”.

A faculty member at an older IIT said requesting anonymity that the endowment fund set up by the IIT Delhi is a role model for many in terms of raising extra funding for institutions, and a committee would explore whether such models can be used by others and what are the other means of fund raising IITs can explore in future.

Pokhriyal underlined the need for making IITs multi-disciplinary institutions for holistic growth in all disciplines of education, without losing its main focus on scientific research and technology development, according to the ministry statement. He called upon IITs to make use of the recently announced scheme National Research Foundation.

The Council also put up for consideration a suggestion to organise IIT R&D fair to showcase the quality research work being done by IITs to the industries. Education minister Pokhriyal also “asked IITs to develop Institute Development Plan as envisioned in NEP 2020 to improve the mobility of faculty between institution and Industry. The mobility of faculty members and industry experts between technical institutes and industry will promote collaborations between industry and academia”.

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