The IIM act of 2017 was considered as a landmark act in the field of higher education. Prior to this Act, the reputed IIMs in India were separate bodies registered under the Societies Act and were only able to offer diplomas and fellowship to its students.
With this 2017 Act, top 20 business schools in India were granted autonomy and were declared as institutes of national importance. This Act enabled them to grant degrees as well as post-doctoral degrees.
This Act ushered a new era of autonomy in universities which was envisaged a long time ago by intellectuals and experts.
However, recent proposals seeking to alter certain provisions in this Act have once again brought this Act to the limelight. This latest proposal comes as a result of the recent standoff between the government and the IIMs.
As per the UGC norms, a masters’ degree can only be issued after two years of enrolling in the programme. However, certain IIMS have introduced the system of a one-year post-graduation programme in management.
Out of the 20 IIMs, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Kozhikode, Lucknow and Udaipur have introduced such programmes for executives in their institutes. IIMs defended their move and went ahead with their plan.
The government was not delighted as this move contravened with the UGC Act of 1956. This new proposal is a retaliatory move from the government. Last year, the ministry of education was strongly against the one year Executive MBA programme.
This year, it seeks to regulate and might even take a reversal stand on the autonomy of IIMS. The government seeks a proposal to initiate an inquiry against a director or the board of directors on an institute if found guilty of purposely contravening the orders issued by the government.
This order has been forwarded to the Law Ministry, and if the law Ministry gives its assent, this proposal will find its place on the Act of 2017 under Section 38.
When the Act of 2017 was drafted, both the government and the B-schools were not on the same page. Issues like autonomy and accountability created problems, especially for the management schools.
However, when it was passed, it was seen as a landmark judgment. However, this new proposal will create a larger divide between the government and the IIMs. With the IIMs fear of their loss of autonomy being realized, it will be interesting to see how this issue moves forward in the coming days.
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