Photo: Dhairyasheel Gore
Students of the five-year Integrated Management Programme (IPM) at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore would now get a distance learning Bachelor's degree from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) for the first three years of their course.
Additionally, IIM Indore has applied for 'deemed university' status to the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry, making it the first IIM to do so. Becoming a deemed university would make the institute eligible to hand out Bachelor's degrees to the IPM students under its own banner. Sources at IIM Indore told PaGaLGuY that the institute had applied for deemed university status in November, 2011 itself, had initiated a dialogue with HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and was awaiting a response.
Launched in 2011, the IPM is the first foray of an IIM into undergraduation. The five-year course admits students directly after school and imparts them three years of undergraduate education followed by a two-year post graduate diploma in management. The course had gotten on to a rough start with concerns that students would be left without a formal bachelor's or master's degree at the end of it.
On the side, IIM Indore has forged an affiliation with IGNOU to impart distance learning degrees to IPM students as a fallback option. A first-year IPM student who did not wish to be named confirmed to PaGaLGuY that the students had already filled out IGNOU forms provided by the IIM last week. The students have been communicated that the on-the-side degree from IGNOU would cost them Rs 1,600 per semester, adding up to a total of Rs 9,600 for the entire three years. They were asked to choose the course they would like to pursue and out of the wide variety, most in the debut IPM batch picked BCom (Hons), BCA and BBA. IGNOU officials have told the students that they will provide course material in the form of books or CDs. At the end of five years, IPM students would have a Bachelor's degree from IGNOU and a two-year post-graduate diploma from IIM Indore. The students are awaiting further details to come by the end of this week.
Officials from the IGNOU learning centre at Indore delivered a presentation to the IPM students explaining how things would exactly work. "IGNOU has a centre in Indore where they generally hold weekend classes. If we want, we can attend the classes. Otherwise, we have been assured by our professors at IIM that they will help us deal with the additional workload. The IIM authorities have also said that they will make sure our IPM exams do not coincide with the IGNOU exams that are generally held twice a year in January and June, an IPM student told PaGalGuY.
Aware that IIM Indore had applied for deemed university status, IPM students said that they were relieved that this step had been taken. It would be great if the institute gets university status. However, till the time it happens, the absence of a degree at the end of the course was the one dark cloud that was hanging over our heads. The affiliation with IGNOU has solved that problem now, the first-year IPM student said.
IIM Indore had also been working on a collaboration with a foreign university or one with an Indian government university to grant degrees to IPM students. The institute has touched base with Delhi University and Mumbai University for this purpose and had received a positive response, but there had been no progress beyond that point, informed a source at IIM Indore.
Despite repeated attempts, IIM Indore's director or the person in-charge of IPM were unavailable for comment.