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IIM autonomy in doubt after 1 year degree order



NEW DELHI: A directive from the Union HRD ministry telling Indian Institutes of Management that awarding degrees for their one year executive MBA programme is violative of UGC norms has raised fresh questions over the autonomy of the country’s premier business schools.

Directors of leading IIMs said the issue will be discussed within the institutes and with the government in the context of the autonomy promised under the IIM Act, 2017, and stressed the need to arrive at “best possible solution”.

“The communication from MHRD says that IIMs, in awarding degrees, should be in conformity with the UGC Act 1956. This needs to be discussed, especially if the MHRD, through the IIM Act, has given autonomy to the IIMs”, IIM Bangalore director G Raghuram said in response to ET queries on the issue.

IIM Calcutta director Anju Seth said the issue will be deliberated at multiple levels across all stakeholders and with the government, and the best possible solution will be arrived at to help “not only IIM Calcutta but all IIMs to achieve ‘standards of global excellence’ as envisaged by the IIM Act”.

She observed that the clarifications provided by the HRD ministry with regard to one-year degree programs have to be seen “in the context of the relatively young IIM Act” and these need detailed consultations.

IIMs have already started second academic session of their 2020-21one year programme in online mode, even as the human resources development ministry has issued a direction – backed with law ministry opinion – terming the degree violative of norms.

Top IIMs have been running the one-year programme for years now, and started awarding degrees for it from 2019 after their boards of governors approved the same in view of the autonomy granted under the IIM Act, 2017.

Seth said IIM-C’s one-year residential program for executives goes back 14 years. “Graduates of this program have deservedly gone on to very successful careers in India and abroad,” she said. “We have every intention of further strengthening this powerful program.”

While IIM Ahmedabad director Errol D’Souza did not respond to ET queries on the matter, a person in the know said the institute will discuss the issue closely to resolve it in the best possible manner with the HRD ministry.

The issue is also likely to be taken up at the IIM Coordination Forum which is currently chaired by the higher education secretary under the HRD ministry.


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