Commander (Retd) V.K. Jaitly is a founder board member of PanIIT India. He studied at IIT Kharagpur and was among the commissioning crew of the aircraft carrier INS Viraat where he involved himself in the computerisation of the Navy. He spoke to Business Today's Goutam Das recently on why Brand IIT is getting diluted.
On Brand IIT: When eight IITs came all of a sudden, that created the problem. The infrastructure was not ready, the faculty was not ready. This was the biggest mistake the Human Resource Development Ministry made. They also wanted to convert regional engineering colleges into IITs at one stage. They perhaps thought it will give them some political mileage. The alumni and directors of IITs opposed it. Can you increase the standard of an institution by giving it another name? It is not possible.
Finally, that idea was shelved. The IITs should have been created slowly with some years of gap between them. Most new IITs don't have a campus. It is being run by the parent IIT. All this will definitely dilute the brand because the newer IITs will not have sufficient labs and faculty. But the IIT brand is so strong that the new guys from the new IITs will also ride the bandwagon. They can manage good jobs. By virtue of peer pressure and growth, these students would also do well.
On reservations: It does bring in some low quality. I know one person at IIT Kharagpur who graduated in 2002 - he should have graduated in 1996. Till today, he is out of job. I am not in favour of reservations in top institutes.
On the standard of education at the IITs: The standard of education at the IITs is one of the best. But some professors refuse to graduate themselves. They continue to teach from old notes they have been using for the last 20 years. But there are also people who are up-to-date.