How would you like to be a doctor and an IITian?
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will soon churn out doctors, economists and social scientists — and engineers of course. The IITs are planning to foray into medicine, humanities and design courses, among others.
IIT Kharagpur has invited expression of interest from private partners for setting up a super speciality hospital in its premises this year. The institute wants to start a MBBS programme once the hospital is up and running.
“We already have a School of Medical Science and Techn-ology and have felt the need for a hospital for some time now,” said D. Acharya, Director.
IIT Kharagpur has been a frontrunner in branching into other disciplines. The institute recently began a law school dealing with intellectual property rights.
IIT Guwahati has taken its first step into humanities by starting a masters programme in development studies from this academic session. The programme will include six subjects — economics, english and linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology and history and archeology.
All the IITs have humanities departments and offer electives to engineering students. However, full-fledged undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are few. IIT Kanpur and Kharagpur offer an integrated M. Sc in Economics and research programmes in humanities.
“If the IITs successfully expand into other disciplines, they can produce leaders in various sciences, economics, humanities and communication,” said Yash Pal, chairman of the Committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education.
The Committee, set up by the Human Resource Development Ministry, had suggested in its report that IITs should become full-fledged universities and offer broad-based university curriculum on the lines of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
IIT Delhi is working on a two-year MA programme in development and cultural studies. IIT Bombay – which offers PhD programmes in humanities —has doubled its teaching strength from 16 to 36.
“We are expanding infrastructure and are also recruiting faculty since we are keen on beginning more programmes,” said Meenakshi Gupta, Head of the Humanities department at IIT Bombay.
“The first batch of humanities graduates from IIT Madras is yet to graduate. It would be interesting to see how they are received and also find out about market requirements,” Gupta added. IIT Madras started a five-year integrated MA programme in economics, English and development studies in 2006.
Notably, a majority of the technological institutes in the world offer degrees in humanities and many are part of a larger university system.