Given how the older IIMs appear to be functioning reasonably well and enjoy a good reputation among global business schools—in 2011, IIM Ahmedabad was 11th in the Financial Times list of top business schools—it’s not quite clear what the government hopes to achieve by imposing a super-structure on top on the existing governing system of the IIMs. If the aim is to lift the new IIMs among the list of 13 that now exist, this cannot be at the cost of the reputation and excellence of the older IIMs. What’s interesting is that the proposal for setting up a Council of Institutes that the government is now proposing was rejected by the IIMs four years ago.
Under the proposal, a Council of Institutes will be set up with the HRD minister as the ex-officio chairperson, the education minister of the state in which the IIM is located as a member, the secretary in charge of technical education will be an ex-officio member as will be the heads of the UGC and the AICTE, there will be 4 government nominees, apart from the chairperson and directors of each of the IIMs … these people will, in turn, appoint more members. This Council is to coordinate the activities of the IIMs, whatever that might mean, and also be allowed to take up other issues that may be referred to it by the government. If this isn’t enough for the older IIMs to feel threatened—they make their own courses right now, but this flexibility looks under threat—the proposal to have an IIM Senate as the principal academic body of each IIM adds to this threat. While the sweetener the government is offering is that the IIMs will now be able to offer ‘degrees’ instead of diplomas and their PhDs will be able to call themselves ‘doctor’ as opposed to being ‘fellows’, it’s worth keeping in mind that the older IIMs have enough of a reputation for industry to lap up their ‘diplomas’.