New Delhi: Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) might get a royalty from the offshore campuses they plan to set up abroad, a central government panel has suggested. The expert committee has emphasised safeguards for saving the IIT brand in the long run and in cases where the institute established abroad does not do well due to any reason.
"The establishing IIT should get something back from the institute abroad. For example, there could be royalty for using the IIT brand. There should be safeguards for saving the IIT brand in long run. Every effort should be made to ensure that the IIT brand is not diluted in any manner, in case one of the institutes established abroad does not do well for whatever reason," the 17-member panel has recommended in its suggestions.
The panel has suggested that the best governance system from anywhere in the world including the governance structure of IITs be adopted for these institutes. "The governance structure should be such that while the connection with the mentoring IITs is maintained, any approval from the mentoring IIT or Indian government should not be required," it said.
Advocating enough freedom to course instructors in teaching and grading as being followed in IITs, the panel has also recommended that curricular structure should be flexible and multi-disciplinary. "Innovative, integrated dual degree programmes combining technical courses with science, humanities, finance, arts, etc should be allowed. It is expected that such innovative courses will be in high demand and can give an edge to the newly established institute over the existing ones," it said.
Many Middle Eastern and South Asian countries have been requesting for IITs to be set up in their countries. While IIT Delhi is considering setting up a campus in UAE, IIT Madras is exploring options in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Tanzania. The Centre had earlier this year set up a committee headed by IIT Council standing committee chairperson Dr. K Radhakrishnan. The panel has recommended creating a generic system like IIT, National Institutes of Technology (NIT), or Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), under which a series of institutes can be established as the current IIT Act does not provide for creating IIT outside the country.
"The Act of Parliament through which these institutes are created should give them more freedom than the current IITs. These institutes have to adapt themselves as per local laws and other legal and financial requirements and, therefore, should have enough freedom to excel," it said. "The local agencies should be identified and on-boarded by the Indian Embassy in the foreign country. Hiring these agencies should not be the responsibility of the mentoring IITs as they may not have the required know-how and experience in dealing with such agencies. The mentoring IIT should, however, provide their requirements, specifications and interface closely with the selected agency to ensure timely progress," it added.
The panel has suggested that other models for establishing the institute might be used depending on the location, such as campuses run by individual IITs, a consortium of IITs and HEIs, or an individual or group of IITs working with a reputable host university. "For example, in the United Kingdom (UK), collaboration with a reputed host university will be preferred. However, this collaboration has to be entered with care so that the expectations and responsibilities of participating IITs are aligned with those of the host university," it said.