Terming Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs ) as "prized brands" of the country, Bharat Ratna awardee scientist CNR Rao called upon the government not to indulge in frequent changes in policies with regards to the institutions and instead become an enabling agency by giving more autonomy and funding.
"Unfortunately we (IITs) are not independent entity. Government should not forget the IITs. This is their prized brand. Unless they support IITs and give better funding I see no future of Indian science and technology.
"Funding that is enough to maintain its high quality, to experiment new innovations in IIT is key. They should not say IIT you take care of yourself," the eminent scientist said while addressing the students at the 47th Convocation of IIT-Delhi.
"Government has to support so that quality of IITs is maintained. Our directors, chairmen and such people who run IITs must be given more autonomy. I do not think government can run good institutions. Government is an enabling institution," he said.
This year IIT-D conferred 264 PhD degrees, the highest for the IIT so far, apart from 109 MBA, 569 MTech and 621 BTech. In all it conferred 1,964 degrees and diplomas. In his report, Director Ramgopal Rao also stated a number of new initiatives including two new hostels (boys and girls) and a sports facility, among others. Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman, Board of Governors, IIT-D also addressed the students on the occasion.
Rao pointed out that IITs also need to transform to order to remain competitive and retain its brand value. "India has been trying to create lot of brands and IIT has been its long standing brand. The only thing people know about Indian education wherever you go is IIT. Everybody in India, including the government, should realize that we should not lose the brand value.
"Very rarely India succeeds in creating a brand. If you lose the brand value you lose everything, particularly in education, innovation and intellectual sector," he said. "To do this there many things are needed to be done and IITs should transform themselves. Science, engineering and the world itself is changing. For example, there are many new areas in engineering where IITs have to become experts. There are so many areas missing in Indian education.
"There are areas where there is not even one expert in India. For example, synthetic biology. Another thing is flexibility, which in undergraduate programme none of the IITs have achieved," he said.