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IIM directors tread carefully on quota

india Updated: Aug 26, 2006 01:39 IST

ON THE day when the quota bill after being tabled in Parliament was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, IIM directors attending the 18th annual convention of Association of Indian Management Schools (AIMS) chose to play safe.

Prof Shekhar Chaudhuri, IIM-C director, and Prof SP Parashar, IIM-I director, who arrived here on Friday refused to make any comments on the ‘quota issue.’

However, Kirit S Parikh, member, Planning Commission, who delivered his inaugural address at the AIMS Convention, was more forthcoming when approached by media persons. “Everybody agrees that affirmative action is needed to uplift the socially backward. The main concern is the issue of creamy layer in the implementation of the 27 per cent quota in elite institutes,” he said adding “we will have to evolve a transparent, just and equitable mechanism to deal with the creamy layer thing,” he said.

Asked whether the quota would dilute quality of IIMs and IITs, Parikh said, “Not really, for the genetic makeup of every Indian is the same. The performance depends on nature, innate abilities and nurturing of students.”

Yes, he agreed that lack of enough teachers was a cause for concern. “The requirement of teachers with adequate experience and Ph. D. background is more than double,” he said. Parikh felt that there was a need to expand the existing IITs and IIMs as well as create more such centres of excellence.

However, many of the senior management teachers, deans and directors of various management institutes attending the convention couldn’t restrain their smile at Parikh’s observation. “Mandal II is going to take the wind out of management education. Create more centres of excellence! It must be a joke at a time when Mandal II threatens to wipe off whatever excellence is left in our systems,” said one who requested anonymity. Interestingly, Prof J Philip, founder president of AIMS, who was also present, made a veiled comment on the quota issue. “Having seen management education evolve over a period of time, it pains when people talk about management quota in education etc. I think the stress should be on quality and excellence,” he observed.

That is something that most agree on. Question is who would tell the government?