Yogesh Upadhyaya describes the various changes being currently contemplated to the IIT system in the linked Rediff essay .
The key "advance" apparently is to confer the IIT brand on several additional institutions (beyond the 5 original IITs plus one each in Roorkee and Guwahati). The idea is to increase aspirant access to IITs, both geographically and numerically. Given IIT's strong brand identity, it's hardly surprising that politicians wish to use it as a populist carrot -- even if this destroys the IITs as we have long known them.
We strongly dissent from this deliberate and misguided dilution of the IIT brand. As the linked 2004 Indian Express op-ed notes:
(This) approach is like selecting -- in the name of fairness -- 1,000 players for the Indian cricket team instead of the best 11 and insisting that any 11 of the 1,000 can compete with Australia. This will hurt the 11 who should be selected, won't help the rest that are selected, and will make India lose the game.
The op-ed, originally written to protest then HRD minister Dr. M. M. Joshi's bullying of IITs and IIMs, lays out alternative, market-driven, approaches that make a great deal more sense.
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