In a first, students of Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) are set to create a think tank that will research and come up with suggestions on education policies announced by the ministry of human resource development (MHRD).
The idea for the student body was formed last month, after PhD and post-graduate students across IITs protested against low stipends, forcing the ministry to revise them.
"After the success of the stipend protests, we realised that despite being the most affected by education polices and decisions, students have very little say in them," Niranjan Thakurdesai, a final-year student at IIT-B.
The think-tank will initially focus on education-related policies and may later on expand to other fields like energy and finance. Three leaders will act as representatives to the core committee. "Every think-tank leader will have three coordinators to collect data required for the topic of study," Thakurdesai said.
Proposals for suggestions and changes in the policies and reform will be regularly sent to the HRD ministry.
The general secretary of academic affairs at IIT-B will chair the core committee and ensure smooth functioning of the group, while the general secretary of hostel affairs at the Institute will seek national and international collaborations to develop the policy-making skills of students through the international relations cell at IIT-B.
The team will collaborate with other IITs, facilitate technical projects and generate referendums for analysing issues and making proposals.
"We are in the process of filing out applications for those who want to be a part of the think tank. Interviews for the core committee and coordinators will happen soon after," said Thakurdesai.
Permissions and suggestions have been sought from the dean of students' affairs at IIT-B, Urjit Yajnik for the proposed student think-tank. "I am happy that students have taken such an initiative to be part of policy making. Student involvement in policy is crucial and IIT-B is perhaps one of the first to do so," Yajnik said.