IIM-A not in favour of degrees

New Delhi, Jan. 18: The IIM Ahmedabad director has opposed a central move to convert IIMs into degree-granting institutions so they can award MBAs instead of post-graduate diplomas in management.

Prof. Samir Barua today told The Telegraph that the diploma awarded by IIM Ahmedabad was globally recognised as equivalent to an MBA degree and there was no need to change the nomenclature.

"Students of IIM Ahmedabad have never faced any problem in pursuing PhD in foreign institutions. Our PGDM is recognised as equivalent to master's internationally," he said.

The HRD ministry is in the process of drawing up an IIM bill which, if passed by Parliament, will turn the institutes into statutory bodies that can offer MBA and PhD degrees instead of diplomas and fellowships, respectively.

The IIMs are well known for quality management education in India and abroad. But they cannot award degrees since they have not been set up by Parliament and do not enjoy deemed-to-be-university status.

The IIMs have been set up as societies under the Societies Registration Act. Only universities and institutes equivalent to universities like the IITs, which have been set up by Parliament or legislatures or have been declared deemed-to-be-universities under the UGC Act, have the power to grant degrees.

Sources said the HRD ministry took the initiative after some IIMs demanded statutory status similar to universities and said difference in nomenclature often caused confusion.

A committee under former Sebi chairman M. Damodaran was then set up to draw up an IIM bill. The draft bill provides for creation of an IIM council as a co-ordinating agency among B-schools and has been sent to all IIMs for feedback.

Barua said it may not be beneficial for IIMs if the proposed council interferes in the affairs of the institutes.

"As of now, the board of governors of each IIM is an independent body that takes decisions on the growth of the institute. Each institute is carving its own destiny as per its strength and weakness. I think this system should stay," he said.

An HRD ministry official said the IIM council was being projected as a co-ordinating body on matters of common interest like admission, counselling or entrance tests. Each institute will continue to have the power to take decisions on its growth, expansion and academic excellence, he said.

Younger IIMs, however, support the MBA proposal. IIM Raipur director B.S. Sahay said: "World-wide, it is MBA degree. Why should we not offer MBA instead of PGDM? It is a very good move."

IIM Kozhikode director Debashis Chatterjee said the IIM council should confine its role to co-ordination.

"If the council starts making things uniform for all IIMs, it will be a problem. It should remain a forum to provide guidance on common issues," he said.

"If we retain our autonomy and can grant MBAs, it should be welcome," he said.

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