Government has ‘complete trust’ in IIT, IIM faculty: Sibal

New Delhi, May 26: Objecting to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh’s view that the IIMs and IITs did not have world-class faculty, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal Thursday said the government had ‘complete trust in the creative potential’ of the teaching staff in these premier institutes.

‘I want to place on record complete trust in creative potential of faculty of IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management). Almost 25 percent IIT faculty comprises students of IITs. Surely, if there are world-class students, there must be world-class faculty,’ Sibal told mediapersons here.

He said the reality was that IITs had ‘not gained critical mass to change global scientific discourse’ but the problem did not relate to their faculty.

He said India spent less than a third of the money the US did on research and that was ‘not the fault of (IIT) faculty’.

Citing some instances of world-class research by IIT professors, Sibal said the inability was of the system to create that critical mass.

Sibal denied that he was opposing or differing with the views of Ramesh, which has stirred a controversy in the academic community over the last three days.

‘The minister (Ramesh) is entitled to his opinion. (But) it was necessary for the government to clear the record. The government is entitled to state its position too,’ Sibal said.

Sibal admitted that he had received calls from IIT faculty complaining about Ramesh’s remarks.

Ramesh had, on the sidelines of a function Monday, said there was hardly any worthwhile research done at IITs or IIMs and had blamed the faculty for the poor quality of work being done by these institutions.

‘There is hardly any worthwhile research from our IITs. The faculty in the IIT is not world class. It is the students in IITs who are world class. So the IITs and IIMs are excellent because of the quality of students not because of quality of research or faculty,’ Ramesh, who is an alumnus of IIT-Mumbai from where he did his Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering in 1975, had said.

According to Sibal, historically IITs were not meant for research but the government had made a shift in their system for the past few years as the country needs ‘more M Techs and doctors’.

Pointing to the growth of publications in scientific citation index journals from IITs, he said that the number had risen significantly over the past few years.

He said the government was working towards new initiatives and the country’s research institutions would have gained global eminence in the next seven-10 years.

Sibal’s remarks came a day after Water Resources and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid defended Ramesh over his remarks, saying the academic atmosphere in which free exchanges take place is different from formal official announcements that are made by ministers.