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Ten cheers for education

Kalpana Pathak & Archana Mohan  |  Mumbai/Ahmedabad 

The year 2007 has seen a buoyant education sector flush with funds and high on expectations.
The year 2007 brought with it many pleasant surprises and a few disappointments for the education sector.
While IITs and IIMs hogged the headlines with the quota issue and their graduates bagged almost Ivy League salaries, the Prime Minister announced a slew of initiatives for the sector. Business Standard highlights a few such issues:
SC stays quota in IITs and IIMs
In a setback to the HRD ministry, the Supreme Court stayed the controversial central law which provided for 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in elite educational institutions like IITs and IIMs. The court held that the 1931 census could not be a determinative factor for identifying the OBCs for the purpose of providing reservation.
AICTE cracks whip on defaulting B-schools
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) "" the body that regulates technical education in India "" decided to approach state governments and ask them to close unapproved institutions, including several premier B-schools and technical training institutes, operating in their regions.
Around 150 such institutes were on the radar to which AICTE issued notices. Despite the notices, only 32 institutes have sought the necessary approval so far.
IIMs make admission process more transparent
Six months after the Indian Institute of Bangalore (IIM-B) was forced to reveal details of its selection process in response to an RTI application filed by a visually-challenged CAT candidate, some of the IIMs thought of making the process completely transparent to candidates taking up the Common Admission Test (CAT).
While IIM-B has already announced its complete selection process, IIM Lucknow is planning to announce the weightage given to each section after the CAT this year. The proposal could moot full disclosure of marks eligibility and weightage to group discussion-personal interviews.
According to the announcement made by IIM-B, candidates will be evaluated on the basis of their CAT score, their score in Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview (PI), their past academic performance and their past work experience.
The institute has also said that the weightage of GD content has been reduced while adding a new component in group discussion laying more emphasis on communication skills.
IIM Shillong takes off
The seventh Indian Institute of (IIM) proposed at Shillong, Meghalaya, will become operational from the academic year 2008-09. The HRD ministry has sent out proposals looking for the director and the chairperson for the IIM.
The new institute will be called the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of (RGIIM), Shillong and will get a grant for non-recurring expenditure of Rs 120 crore over a period of five years and Rs 45 crore for recurring expenditure over a period of six years.
IIM-A and IIM-B get new directors
Professor Samir K Barua took up the reins at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) as its director.
Barua was declared the successor to Bakul Dholakia, of the premier institute, while Pankaj Chandra "" also an IIM-A professor "" was appointed as the new director of IIM-Bangalore.
B-school grads bag Ivy League salaries
Apart from the bulkier packages offered to students, the season witnessed emerging trends of students preferring domestic shores; more students getting placed on slot zero (day one); new recruiters on the campus like SEBI; and some rejecting Rs 1 crore salaries to opt for their own ventures.
Average domestic packages across all campuses saw a significant increase of around 35 per cent while international packages showed an increase of 43 per cent. At IIM-A, the top offers ranged between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 1 crore for domestic placements, and $225,000 and $300,000 for international acceptances.
The Indian School of Business (ISB) recorded the highest average international packages across all campuses in the country.
While IIM-A had an average international package of $115,300, at ISB, the average was $135,000 (around Rs 59.5 lakhs) which was close to 12 per cent more than its average package last year of $120,700.
The highest packages were bagged by the top three IIMs and ISB this year. While IIM-A had an average international package of $115,300, at ISB, the average was $135,000 (around Rs 59.5 lakhs) which was close to 12 per cent more than its average package last year of $120,700.
At other institutes, 172 students got placed on Day Zero at K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research while the number of PPOs was higher by 25 per cent as compared to last year. At JBIMS, IIFM, SIBM and MICA, all the students were placed on day zero itself.
Higher budget allocation for education sector
The Planning Commission has decided to treble the budget allocation for higher and technical education in the country for the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-2012). The commission has put agriculture, education and health among the most important sectors this Five-Year Plan.
A substantial amount will be spent on the same. The government will also be looking at sponsorships in the education sector through the public-private mode. Also, the HRD ministry has plans to set up three new IITs and IIMs.
Prime Minister announces 8 new IITs; 7 new IIMs
The Prime Minister in his independence day speech announced the setting up of 6,000 new high quality schools "" one in every block of the country; 370 colleges in various districts; 1,600 new industrial training institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics; 10,000 new vocational schools and 50,000 new Skill Development Centres.
The government plans to seek active help of the private sector in its initiatives. The government also plans to set up; 30 new Central Universities; five new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, eight new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), seven new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), and twenty new Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs).
University of Mumbai plans listing on bourses
The Mumbai University plans to get listed on the bourses and also invest in the shares of blue chip companies to raise money for infrastructure development and academic activities.
A state-funded university, it plans to pump in money into the stock market through its corpus fund of over Rs 100 crore.
The Mumbai University has earmarked Rs 2 lakh for a feasibility study on all aspects of fund-raising. It is also toying with the idea of getting listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. This promises to help it attract better faculty members and students and also facilitate collaborations with international institutions of repute.
Delhi HC upheld AICTE's stand in CFA issue
The Delhi High Court dismissed the US-based Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institutes' petition against the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) "" the technical education regulation body "" that it should be allowed to operate in India.
Consequently, the thousands of first- and second-level students (comparable to first year and second year) will now have to go abroad to pursue the CFA course if they still wish to do so.

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First Published: Wed, December 19 2007. 00:00 IST