Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's in a name?

Apparently everything. There has been a considerable demand that IT-BHU be converted to IIT. I had previously thought that students would prefer joining IT-BHU irrespective of whether it was an IIT or not. After all, IT-BHU has been taking JEE students for a long time even before IIT-Roorkee started. However, I do see that the students who have qualified in JEE seem to prefer the new IITs, which have not even started and do not have land, faculty or any facilities, over IT-BHU. Thus, the name of IIT seems to matter much more than even the previous reputation, facilities or anything else of an existing institution.

5 comments:

Varun Murthy said...

Dont you think this is expected in India?? This is a country where "brand value" and "name" is everything.. And we are not talking about normal names here,we are after all talking about brand-IIT here,which is so very big..being an IIT under grad opens a lot of doors all over thw world..
If its going to help everyone concerned and not harm anyone,why not go ahead and rename IT-BHU to an IIT?

Giri@iisc said...

I would have guessed that IT-BHU, having been around so long, would open the same doors as IIT-BHU. But the statistics convince me that I am wrong. This would be confirmed if IIT-Roorkee opens more doors than Univ of Roorkee. After all, both were the same when it got converted.

I think eventually IT-BHU will be an IIT. There is just a lot of skepticism in converting an existing university to IIT.

Vinod Khare said...

This is hardly surprising given the way the public image of the IITs has been constructed over the last decade or so. It has been official policy to promote IIT as a brand, where the mere association with the institutes is advertised as a guarantee of quality.

Balaji Ramasubramanian said...

This is mainly because of the blind admissions that universities in India make. Because universities make blind admissions, students make blind decisions. They don't care to know anything. The other very big drawback in India is that students cannot transfer from one educational institution to another. The problem with this is that students think of getting into one school as getting a "stamp for life". This is because they can never change the school unless they take the entrance exams again. So they all want to sign up for an IIT first and "secure their future" which in their opinion depends heavily on the brand of the institution.

In the US, the student's fate is not decided in one entrance exam or just one SAT test score or just one GPA score-card from high school. If a student joins a less known school because of a lesser GPA in high school, he can work hard and through self-motivation upgrade his school in one or two years. This motivates students to continuously improve themselves. The main problem is that IITs and for that matter every school in India has only one channel for intake. There should be intake at various levels other than freshman and to drop students (or ask them to leave) if they don't perform at a minimum level. I know several people at the IITs who just don't work at all after their admission through the JEE. They are confident of getting some degree with a CGP of 5.something and with a strong stamp, they would look for jobs or apply for B-schools for an MBA. In fact such students waste the nation's money and resources totally. The best research universities which should be ideally for the most research oriented students are actually exploited by students who will never use their engineering degree.

If on the contrary, transferring were allowed, the best and the most research oriented students can opt for the IITs (can upgrade their school after one or two years) and the less motivated students can just leave for lesser known schools and eventually get an admission to MBA programs.

One more thing is that undergraduate level research unfortunately in India is far more encouraged than graduate level research. This may not be true in IISc, but I have seen grad students being publically humiliated by the professors in IITs and in my college too, while they have a liking for the undergrads. In UIUC, what I observe is that professors wish to meet and talk to grad students, but have no interest in undergrads. In fact grad students hire undergrads here to help them make some of their measurements and if undergrads do well, they obviously end up gaining. In India however, the plight of grad students is beyond description. They often have to compete with their undergrad counterparts and in fact in NIT Nagpur, the professors directly tell the MTech student that the BTech students are more intelligent.

If intelligence is determined by the brand of the school you went to, the rank you get in an entrace exam etc., this sorry state of affairs will obviously lead to IITs being preferred over IT-BHU; a psychological preference for the name "IIT".

Aseem said...

I totally Agree.IIT shud have various intake options
But what I m really going to talk about is conversion of IT bHU and problem of vacant seats in JEE after every JEE exam ....

Naming is ok but making IIt Varanasi a truly autonomous will help it to remove obstacles in fund procurement and if this is done it skyrocket in composite rankings from current 8th ...

About vacant seats.... i believe that the very concept of quota is wrong.Why take ppl who cant compete and den wail about not having enough quality students.
Plus general students take a hit ...so why not simply transfer the seats to General category students ....??????I kno the pain cos' i qualified this years JEE wid a 4000+ rank .I expressly had interest in aerospace defence yet cudnt take aeronauticals in the IITs ...so i m joining IT Bhu dats particularly sad when i kno i cd ve been in IIT KGP js for a few seats .... while a sc student witha rank worse than mine and who is clever enough to hide his income sources would get a seat in the IIts.sadly this IS the reality...