All You Need To Know About The IIM Bill
The IIM Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in July 2017 and the Rajya Sabha in December 2017. What took everyone by surprise was the quick presidential nod which generally takes anything between 2-6 months. Suddenly all students pursuing their PGDM from IIMs of the country went into a tizzy asking each other how is this going to affect us? This short article breaks up the bill into several small components and tries to solve the mystery for both PGP 2018 batch and further.
What is the Bill?
It has long been lobbied by the intelligentsia of the country with the politicians to give the universities and higher educational institutes a free hand in charting their growth story. You cannot create a Harvard equivalent in India if there is constant interference and hobnobbing in the management of such institutes. To be frank, it would be unfair to say that this bill has brought about that change. The IIMs and the IITs have had such autonomy for a long time in almost all fields that they pursue. What this bill does is formalises that power by transferring decision making to the board of governors. The composition of the new board is such that out of 19 members on the board, only 2 would be government representatives. The selection criteria and methodology would be known for the independent 17 members once the rules of the act are published. However, the act specifies that at least 5 alumni would be part of the board.
What is all this degree hype? How does it impact everyone?
The bill grants IIMs to give a Masters educational degree in place of the Diplomas it awards currently. This enables the students pursuing an MBA from an IIM to apply for doctoral programs worldwide. However, this does not mean that students currently do not pursue doctoral programs post PGDM from an IIM. Many reputed universities across the world consider a diploma from an IIM equivalent to a masters program. This bill widens the options available to the student by giving it a legal standing. However, this would alter the nature of MBA in India. This bill covers only the IIMs of the country and does not apply to other b-schools. Schools like XLRI, SP Jain, IMT, MDI, etc., would be at a disadvantage. Until now their diplomas were as good as an IIM. Now they are less valuable legally. They are fighting it out with the UGC currently to solve the problem. However, even though the bill has been passed, the rules for the same haven’t been framed. Even after the rules are framed, the board of the institute needs to pass a resolution that declares that henceforth it will award a degree to its students. Only then will the students be awarded degrees. Hence it is very unlikely that any IIM would award degrees to the current batch of outgoing students. If some IIM dos out of the way to hurry things up, it would be a rare occurrence.
How does this bill benefit the IIMs of the country?
An IIM is led from the front by its director. The tenure of a director is 5 years. Prior to this bill, the government of the day appointed the director to an IIM. Different governments appoint different academicians as directors and that sometimes leads to change in the direction of the institute with a change in leadership. With this bill, the appointment of the director lies in the hands of the board which ensures that the vision of the incoming director is aligned with the long-term vision of the institute. For example, IIM Udaipur’s long-term vision of furthering research to compete with global universities will be reflected even when the current director, Dr. Prof. Janat Shah retires after his 10-year tenure as the director. This gives institutes greater stability and strengthens the core of the institute.
Busting the Myths:
This bill in no way hinders the government funds that flow into IIMs for expansion and furthering the training of both students and teachers. Many of the features that the act contains like enabling international partnerships, etc., aren’t new as institutes had such liberties even without the passage of the bill. Just the passage of the bill does not change things because unless the rules have been framed and tabled in the parliament, it would not empower the boards. Hence it would be futile to expect degrees for the current batches. Whether past batches can be granted degrees would also depend upon the rules framed. However, it is important to point out that even without the bill to support the IIMs, the diplomas granted by them were accepted almost everywhere in India and most recognised universities worldwide owing to the excellent quality of education IIMs have been providing to students for many decades.