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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why I Like the 5-year Integrated PGP at IIM Indore

IIM Indore announced a few days ago that it is starting a 5-year Integrated Post-Graduate Program in Management (IPGP), for students who have finished 12th class. There is a lot of debate on the net whether it is a good move by IIM Indore. Apparently, Directors of some IIMs believe that it will lower the value of brand IIM. There is also some debate on whether it is a good idea to have an undergraduate program in Management. A lot of people believe that the basic undergraduate education should not be in management. There is also a debate on whether students should join this, considering the high cost of the program. Also, if, for some reason, the student decides to drop in between, then s/he gets a diploma and not a degree after three years of studies.

I am pretty excited about this announcement for several reasons.

In general, any well thought of experiment in education space excites me. There is a severe dearth of experiments and new models for higher education. If an IIM is doing it, then they certainly would have given it a lot of thought and done a cost-benefit analysis from its own perspective and from the perspective of its potential students. It may fly or not fly in the future, but as Prof. Kelkar (founding Director of IIT Kanpur) used to say, "if educational institutions won't do experiments, who else will."

IIM Indore is planning to teach lots of different things in the first 3 years. These will include Maths, Computer Science, Biological Sciences, History, Political Science, Literature, Economics, Finance, Ethics, Law, and a lot of things related to business management. They will also include a foreign language (I hope they consider English as Indian language), and soft skills. This will really be a very broad based program, unlike most undergraduate programs in the country. I think there is a need to get out of the thinking that undergraduate is a terminal degree and is meant to create a specialist out of you. I hope other universities will follow IIM Indore and make their undergraduate programs more broad based.

There is a strong need in the country to have a higher education system which is outside the excessive control of regulators. In India, regulators don't regulate, they control. Today, we have PG Diploma programs, which despite AICTE's repeated attempts, have remained somewhat independent, and of course, we have a shining example of ISB, which offers excellent education at PG level without any approval of AICTE. We have nothing similar at the UG level. After this program, though most students will complete IPGP in 5 years, we will have some people getting out early
with just a diploma. And hopefully with the quality of education they would have received, they would find some decent jobs. This should encourage people to offer programs which sell not because they have a stamp of AICTE, but because industry and society at large values it for its quality.

Another reason for liking this program is the tuition they are charging. I have often argued that India has extremely poor quality education since institutions are not allowed to charge what it takes to offer high quality. In an earlier article on this blog, Pricing Engineering Education, I had argued that NIT quality education costs Rs. 2.5 lakhs per year. But since costs of IITs and NITs are hidden from parents, people don't believe those numbers. With IIM Indore charging Rs. 3 lakhs per year, I hope it will make fee regulators think and at least allow the best colleges to charge a more realistic tuition.

IIM Indore will be dependent on visiting faculty for teaching many of the under-graduate courses. I am sure they will only like to invite the very best faculty members for teaching these courses, and would be willing to give a decent payment for the same. Most NITs have a serious shortage of faculty, particularly in IT and other "popular" disciplines. But they bring in visiting faculty by paying Rs. 1000 per hour, peanuts really, and while a few serious people may still come in to help, a lot of visiting faculty is very poor quality. (Compare this with LNMIIT Jaipur, where we used to pay up to Rs. 5000 per hour.) I think a government institute paying a decent remuneration to visiting faculty will encourage NITs and other government institutes to treat their own visiting faculty better, and hopefully that will improve the quality of education in all such places.

In short, this is a wonderful experiment, and each aspect of the experiment will encourage other players in higher education to do things in better ways.


Shishir said...

'Apparently, Directors of some IIMs believe that it will lower the value of brand IIM'.. this is a mindset restricts our thinking ..makes us a prisoner of our own past..

If IIM-I people believe that it's a good idea to impart liberal management education to young minds which will blossom into creative personalities, they should go ahead by all means. Yes, if they start thinking in terms enhancing brand value and monetary returns on investment on such course , I'll have reservations. The best test to judge an action is to judge it by its internal intentions , not by its external forms.

The doubts about early specialisation are misplaced as the students get a good grounding of basic subjects. . Maybe , absence of an undergraduate 'degree' (or equivalent ) may cause some misgivings in the mind of parents and students. IIM-I can address this by awarding a degree like B.A,PGD(M) on the lines of National Law School , Bangalore which awards the degree of B.A,LL.B.
My only advice to IIM-I is that the programme shouldn't be too academically loaded. The students should be allowed to experiment, have interaction with society and industry, allowed to 'know' (not 'told') what is management.The faculty should hand-hold and drive only when needed .
The stress should be on letting the students have the feel of the subject so that they can 'identify the problem' rather than just 'solve the given problem'

gautam said...

Thank God one IIM has started this! I hope the ABCL IIMs will follow suit. Today kids interested in Finance / Marketing / Management etc. end up in an IIT as there are very few options available for a good UG education in a good environment. Now with these choices opening up, hopefully the IITs will get students who actually want to study Engineering! The high level of fees is going to be a bummer. But not to worry! Post Kakodkar, IITs are going to match IIMI's fees and we will have a level playing field! Seriously though, high fees at IITs will not see the light of day as long as a coalition is in power at the Centre. So IIMI, subsidise your UGs with the riches that your PGs bring!

Hari said...

I have read your previous post as well on the pricing of engineering. Private institutes may need to charge quite high to give quality of education but why public funded institutes needs to charge so much? And I am also curious about the case of Germany and other EU countries where the education is free. I heard about it but did not verify it myself. Is it the case? Do we have any examples in the world who give better education at lower costs?

I liked the second comment (by gautam). It will be great if such initiatives by IIMs help improve input quality of IITs!

Why M.Tech and PhD students are paid stipend? Why not MSc and MBA students?

Hari said...

Since it is a new program by IIMs, the graduating students will not have any problems but innovative programs in new places especially in the areas where there is no job market is actually dangerous for the students. For example, IISER, IIITDM. I am also doubtful about BS program of IISc. Some programs in robotics, nanotechnology etc. Such programs are good but unless the institute is reputed or lead by a strong team, the students will pay huge cost!

IISER stories:

Gaurav said...

Mr. Shanghi

In a country where 70% of the population can't afford two square meal , charging INR 300,000 for a year is way too much.Let me ask you what is the salary of an A grade government officer? ( for that matter think of what you get in terms of emoluments.) Is it possible for you to pay for studies with such salary?? In a way these kind of Elitism , encourages corruption by putting in an indirect pressure over citizens of a country where two square meal is a luxury and talking of availability of education Loan , you better know the scenario.

We always tend to compare ourself with American and European model but why do you forget that , Education is most of these countries is still funded by state.
What a citizen gets here after paying so high taxes , when one has to pay for the education of one's kids starting from day one of kid's schooling.

My simple question is what we get in lieu of paying taxes ...medical , sports infrastructure, social security, Infrastructure .... what we get that is the question.

and in such scenario, such comments by an Intellectual of your level encouraging exorbitant fee structure being charged by a Trendsetting institute not only baffles me but also makes me feel helpless

I am a concerned student who wanted to admit his brother for this program but have to decide otherwise due to such high fee being charged.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Gaurav, the difference between your position and my position is that you want every one to get low quality education (except a few whom government can afford to subsidize), and I want the country to have an option for high quality education. I am not against low quality education. But I am against this idea that only low quality education should exist in the country, since very few people can afford high quality education.

Your argument will ban Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, since very few people can afford them. We should ban air travel, since very few people can afford them. Imagine the plight of the poor person staying close to the airport, finding it difficult to have two square meals, and seeing all these airplanes flying in and flying out. Must be hurting a lot. So let us stop them. Of course, we should not have gone for any car other than Maruti 800 (and now Nano), since very few people can afford them. May be, we should not have allowed any car at all. Too elitist, one may say. And in the same vain, we should ban high quality education, since very few people can afford it.

monika kacker said...

I totally agree with you and feel proud that IIM indore could launch the 5 year integrated pgp a few years back and we now have quality education in our country instead of looking at options abroad.Since my son is writing his class 12 boards and we will soon fill up the same form how i wish the institution offered more seats so that more children could benefit. Yes Shisir experimenting and interacting with society is as important as experiencing the quality of iim. Regards