Authorities in the 400 non-IIM B-schools in the country are concerned about the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) Bill. These institutes offer a postgraduate diploma in management (PGDM), which is also offered by the IIMs. The proposed bill will allow the IIMs to offer degrees once it is passed, while other B-schools would still offer a PGDM.
Expressing his apprehension over the implications of the bill, Harivansh Chaturvedi, alternate president, Education Promotion Society of India (EPSI), says: “For all PGDM institutions, being run by private trust or societies, the bill will create a very unfavourable situation. If the IIM Bill 2015 is passed by the Parliament, it will put a big question mark on PGDM programmes. The legal, financial and market validity of a PGDM will be in jeopardy.”
EPSI, a confederation of private business schools, has been fighting for the autonomy issue of PGDM institutions along with Association of Indian Management Schools.
EPSI had written to Smriti Irani, minister for human resource development (HRD), on the issue in October 2014. Chaturvedi says that EPSI has always demanded a level-playing field for autonomous private B-schools offering PGDM programmes with IIMs.
“These B-schools have been in place for the last 50 to 60 years and some of the top private institutions are comparable to many IIMs. A level-playing field can be created by conferring them the power to grant degrees. This can be achieved by allowing them to become deemed universities. A separate bill can be prepared and passed in Parliament for this,” says Chaturvedi.
He suggests other alternatives that can help achieve this.
“All those PGDM institutions which are 20 years old or have been accredited by the National Board of Accreditation can be given degree-awarding powers, similar to the IIMs as proposed. The rest of the PGDM institutions can be asked to get affiliation from any state/public university. An Indian Management Council can also be set up as a regulatory body for management education. It can take over the current role of the All India Council for Technical Education and should act as a catalyst for management education at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels,” says Chaturvedi.
The Federation of Associations of Managements of Unaided Professional Educational Institutions in India has also written to the HRD minister on the matter. “The trump card for the 400 autonomous B-schools is that they also offer PGDM programmes as in the case of IIMs. This opportunity will be lost once you pass the bill giving degree-awarding status to IIMs. In fairness, kindly consider these institutions also as degree-awarding institutions. They are centres of excellence and have been in existence for more than 20 years,” says the letter dated April 8, 2015, a copy of which is with HT Education.
EPSI had sought feedback from PGDM institutions on the matter and they have expressed concern over the bill. “Why should the law of equality not apply to both IIMs and PGDM institutions as IIMs are also AICTE-approved institutions like us? PGDM institutions should be treated as self-financed autonomous degree holding institutions and given the freedom to offer undergraduate, postgraduate and research level courses. They should be allowed to create their own financial resources. They should also be free to fix and follow high quality international education standards from time to time,” says PL Maggu, chairman, Graduate School of Business and Administration, Greater Noida, in a letter to EPSI.
B-schools in other cities have sent their suggestions to EPSI. “The present IIM Bill can be renamed as the Indian Management Education Bill to provide a level-playing field to other private institutes. Moreover, a clause should be added in such a bill which says that the PGDM offered by AICTE-approved institutions be deemed equivalent to an MBA degree offered by universities in India and be treated at par with MBA degree awarded by universities for pursuing higher studies ie MPhil, PhD and post doctoral fellowship,” says SS Mohanty, director, St Francis Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai.