The Union Human Resource Development ministry announced six educational institutions – three public and three private – as “Institutions of Eminence” on Monday. Reliance Foundation’s Jio institute, which has not even started functioning yet, made it to the list leaving behind Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday announced the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, as the IoEs chosen from the public sector.
From the private sector, BITS Pilani, Manipal Academy of Higher Education and JIO Institute by Reliance Foundation were the three institutes mentioned by the Minister who have been granted the status.
The yet-to-be established ‘JIO Institute’ by Reliance Foundation which has now been called ‘Institution of Eminence’ (IoE) will entitle the tag-holders for special exemptions in aspects of how they operate the institutes.
When the name of ‘Jio Institute’ was announced, it created a flutter as a search online revealed that the institute was yet to begin its operations.
The ‘Institution of Eminence’ recognition will grant these institutes complete academic and administrative autonomy, enabling them to start new courses, hire foreign faculty and collaborate with foreign institutes without government’s approval.
“As of today, Jio only exists as a proposal. Jio Institute has no record of academic or socially relevant accomplishments; one would be hard put to establish details about its faculty, campus infrastructure and courses. The inclusion of clauses which allow paper proposals to qualify as an ‘Eminent Institution’ is an academic corruption of highest order,” said Rajib Ray, president of the Delhi University Teachers Association.
Institutions are not built in a day or on paper, asserted Ray. “It takes decades to build institutions of higher excellence. Hence, Jio Institute’s recognition is arbitrary and makes a mockery of this exercise. It proves the extent to which the MHRD, and by extension, this government, is besotted by corporations and big businesses. Such shameful decision become the basis of the fear that this government intends to put higher education up for sale,” emphasises Ray.