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After IIMs, other business schools too seek autonomy

B-schools

Seeking autonomy is the flavour of the season. It’s not only the Central Bureau of Investigation crying for autonomy, Indian B-schools also want to be free to draft their own syllabus and grant degrees, among others.

“After the formation of the IIM Council, the Indian Institutes of Management will get the power to grant degrees. Why this should be denied to other B-schools in the country? We have requested the ministry of human resource development (HRD) to provide us with more autonomy,” said the director of a Delhi-based B-school, who did not want to be named.

Recently, directors, deans and presidents of 15 top B-schools met M M Pallam Raju, Union HRD minister, demanding more autonomy for their institutions. Among other demands, B-schools want autonomy to draft their own syllabus and hire teaching resources.

“MBA is a professional practicing programme. We would like to fine-tune the subjects, modify syllabus and provide better training to our students,” said Sunil Rai, director, Goa Institute of Management.

B-schools want to introduce six-month internship against the present two months as part of the management course, so that students can have better industry exposure. At present, that cannot be done as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the country’s technical education regulator, does not allow the same, Rai said.

BR Manjunath, director general of Mumbai-based Sir M Visvesaraya Institute of Management Studies, agrees with Rai. “Most faculty members have been academics throughout their life and do not have any industry experience. AICTE should be able to approve anyone who has at least 15 years of experience in the industry to teach in a B- school, as professors and directors, who in turn can train the students.”

B-schools also want to adopt better technology to deliver programmes for management students, which they say will help students save time. They have long been demanding permission to induct senior managers from the industry. At present, to be a faculty member, one needs to be a PhD. B-schools say due to the insistence on PhD, they are deprived of experienced professionals.

“Senior industry executives with over 25 years of experience should be allowed to join B-schools as full-time faculty. This would not only help us tide over the faculty shortage problem, but also bring in experienced executives to teach professional courses like investment banking,” said Rai.

B-school directors are also seeking the revival of the All India Board of Management Studies (AIBMS) under the AICTE. Fr Abraham, director, Xavier Labour Relations Institute in Jamshedpur, and Indira Parikh, president, Foundation for Liberal and Management Education in Pune, told the HRD ministry that management programmes during 1970s and 1980s used to be governed by the AIBMS, and the board which had now become defunct should be revived.

“AICTE officials are not well-versed with management education. It’s a professional qualification being treated as any general discipline. We want the AIBMS to be reconstituted to look into issues being faced by management institutions,” added the Delhi-based B-school director quoted above.

The ministry said it would look into the demands of the B-schools.


WHAT B-SCHOOL AUTONOMY MEANS FOR STUDENTS

  • More time for internship: B-schools are seeking six-month internship for students so that they can be industry-ready by the time they graduate
  • Change in syllabus and courses: B-schools want to change syllabus and introduce courses more often and in tune with industry demand and needs
  • Drawing faculty from the industry: Experienced industry professionals can bring live examples, real life cases and challenges to classrooms; tide over faculty shortage
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