IITs having limited land, hostels and manpower cannot both be a huge teaching shop for UG (as it is being dragged into today) AND be a huge r&d setup like MiT. the money also doesnt exist at present for such a MKization. Massa has the money , the huge endowments and endless land for this.
The money are there. The priorities are not there. Lets try to see where all cash is needed afai can tell: 1) the day-2-day chores of the institute like electricity, water and other non-avoidable costs like admin -- printing degrees etc, 2) research money for travel, printer etc, 3) salary for professors/admin, 4) facilities upgrade + building new infra, 5) running expenses of students' teaching, 6) something else I may have missed.
The infra for students teaching is already there like classrooms etc. The recurring cost is the salary + upgrades/building new infra for taking in more students. It used to be the pet whine of every bozo in town that GoI pays a significant chunk of the students facilities' upgrade. Was true twenty years back, not so now. The fee an IIT student has to pay these days is good enough for that. Most students pay now around 40k per semester, good enough to meet most of the needs. The deans try to rope in cash from alums and well-wishers for research money -- and before one starts pointing out George Lucas and similar examples, IIT alums lend a lot more cash than gets known. Gururaj Deshpande is the most prominent IITM example, there are a 1000 other people who send in small contributions and this is a significant chunk. Every time dean Ananth comes to the US for any event, the first and foremost thing he asks from alums is payback.
So the point behind this seemingly vague roundabout is that GoI money is important yes, but only for building new facilities. If the GoI prioritized its investments on education with an explicit goal to building capacity, there is no reason why the UG and PG program cant run at the same place efficiently. Fiscal prudence should start at the top. Unfortunately, we have uneducated goons who can blow cash on MPs paychecks, but would have their dhotis in a twist when pointed out.
so maybe the idea to reduce to UG headcount to minimal levels and focussing resources on making it more like IIsc would be a better use of the good profs and infra there ?
The priorities of IIT education are becoming completely absurd. Lacking vision. There is no long term initiative. For folks who want to come back like me, thats a huge nightmare. I cant possibly convince myself that the teaching loads will be commensurate with my capabilities. The travel money is another big mess. This is true even in places like IISc. Every one of these institutions has become such a big behemoth with large quantity without improving the quality. In this case, we are closely aping China and needless to say, much of the output from the IITs/IISc is unmitigated disaster.
There are a few vestiges like TIFR that are isolated/immunized from this pressure that GoI puts on new/possibly new recruits. The fear factor and the lack of confidence in the vision of GoI is a big dent on people returning back in much larger numbers than that is happening now. I wish socialist monkeys like AS or interfering nutmegs like MMJ who make H&D a big deal are not given the HRD portfolio. MMJ and AS have set back this country quite far in terms of recovery: MMJ with his "dont charge students fees or change the syllabus" crap and AS with his "should make it more accessible, but we wont provide you with nuff cash ok" nonsense.
As of now, the best use for profs in IISc/IITs is to stop loading them with three courses a year tripe often nuff. Hire more lecturers and TAs for the teaching needs. Allow the professors to focus on research. Throw away the old lot that cant refocus on research -- and trust me, there are these old baggages whose only mojo in life is teach and teach well, I do. Unfortunate as it seems, teaching is a priority for all the big universities in the US, but teaching comes nowhere if research component aint going anywhere. There is this recent trend of teaching as research, but thats all like singing paens to the choir.
Why will students want to do a PhD or even masters, when right out of the BE/Btech program they can make around 50k a month? Where are incentives for students? Where are fellowships, where are scholarships, where are RA positions that pay enough to make ends meet for students? We can put the blame on GoI for quite a bit, but the "culture" in IITs should also take a major blame. In the US, there is this notion of tenure which necessitates new faculty to hunt for cash/funding students/publish more. In India, this culture is almost absent. Of course, one cant get paid in the associate scale (a pittance of ~30k from ~23k at the asst level) unless one publishes enough to get a promotion. But they would nt chuck a faculty member out if he publishes like 1 or 2 a year. That culture has nt set in yet. There are many "assistant" professors at age 50+ in most of the IITs, just take a look at the fac list. Unless this culture is nipped in the bud, there is no way any amount of cash infusing can help.
Maybe the GoI can do a big tickets investment where they lure some of the biggie desis to come back. Of course, a lot more carrots need to be dangled for this. But heck, thats a small price to pay for the cultural impact these big tickets will provide to the IITs. Every place in China would offer the weight in gold to a big ticket if he even sounds out the possibility of R2C. We in India are an egoistical lot. In the sense that, we are like "If you think you will feel good, please come onlee. Else, we are fine onlee in our shitholes onlee." Like it or not, big tickets have huge egos. HUGE. Dangling carrots is a way to satiate their egos. Thats an unavoidable price. There are many who would r2i provided the right incentives are made. Most of them fear the administrative overload, not without a reason. If we can convince the entrenched lot about the change in culture, the steady trickle will become a huge wave. And thats what we need to infuse life in to our stupor-induced research programs. Its more a cultural issue, before it becomes a money/facilities issue.
I think this is perhaps what Stan was proposing although his UG loyalty
wouldnt have him nuke the UG totally as IIsc did
let in onlee 200 super
duper UGs through the gate after holding the worlds toughest exam if you
Boss, if you have seen the UG products from the IITs across a wide spectrum like I have, you will feel the palpable drop in quality. An UG in the 80s need nt be a PGM or GGM to be good on on overall scale. Most of the UGs were well-rounded out, who could do as well in education as they could in everything else. The current lot has a huge set of smart ones, of course. But the process of selecting the students is so fcked up that many of the undeserving ones are let in through the JEE. When I want to cut down on the numbers, I want the second group's numbers cut down to a manageable level. Right now, the second group overwhelms the system resources and sets in a bad culture. You take the people from the IITs or the competition, that place stinks. The cultural aspect of an IIT education has been so dumbed down -- my point is the IIT culture has been significantly skewed in the last twenty years that there is a need for course correction. Cutting down numbers and selecting students in a more non-Kota way is what I am proposing. Not a blanket ban on this or that. Actually, I hate the UG population a lot more than I sound. Most of them are sprinters -- not good for fundamental research that needs marathoners. In fact, there are like 2-5 (max) in my around-about batches (seniors/juniors) that are STILL in the research business. 2-5 out of a class of 90 odd. Thats lame. I have seen infinitely more people give up and run to make cash in NYC and SV than I have seen folks who stay put and keep doing research. I blame the incumbent culture of the IITs for that.
"Cutting the line" (argee-ing) as it is called has become the dominant trend. Students cheat around like crazy. While some of that like the UG power labs are unavoidable, cheating in Btech projects has become so mainstream. Its the norm. The Kota-coast mode folks have set in a bad precedent. I do understand a bit of coasting in the first two semesters after the torturous JEE etc, but coasting for 8 semesters is not passe. That is a rot from the inside. When you talk about "UG loyalty", it is that. I am hating to see bozos come from these places and tarring the name of the IIT system that took ages to build. There are a lot more angrier folks than me. I am just the rambling one. Loyalty as to what the intended message behind the whole place was. That has been frittered away.
will ... but my sensors say these A++ people will decamp for MiT after
their degree so long as the difference in living standards and 'prestige' is
wide. want to live in kanpur with its choking blue phat-phatti fumes and
soiled river or alewife ?
In contrast to what you think, going to MiT or wherever is NOT a big problem. We want people to go everywhere. As long as they know they have to r2i at some point and start contributing. I see this inbreeding as a big disease. If every Btech were to stay back in India and do his PhD here, I will be afraid of the consequences. It will be like brainwashed monkeys dancing to the internal tunes. We need diversity of thought, diversity of opinions, we need people who can see things from different angles. Unfortunately, a culture that lacks migration (back and forth) will be terrible for fundamental research. More so now than the good old days of Russian probabilists of the early 20th century where one could be isolated in Siberia and still do great stuff a la Kolmogorov and Markov.
Going out is not the issue. We need to compensate those who go out with those who return and contribute. And in contribute, I dont want to discount the folks who are not within India but make a big difference in cross-oceanic research. If we put a strong box on how one can contribute, it will become a system on its own and the entire focus of productivity/creativity will be lost. JMTs.