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President Kalam on what IIT means

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PostSubject: President Kalam on what IIT means Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:47 pm

you hear of IIT, what strikes your mind first?" Well before you answer
the question, read what President A P J Abdul Kalam has to say about it.
President inaugurated the PanIIT Global Conference 2006, the largest
gathering of the IIT alumni at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in suburban
The President, in his usual witty way told the
gathering that, while preparing his speech he had gathered some very
interesting facts about what Brand IIT means to people in general. He
called a few friends, from different walks of life and sought their
reaction to the word 'IIT'.
Before he started, the President
asked the audience if they were willing to hear positive, negative or
mixed things about them. The answer was a resounding: 'mixed'!
His observations focussed on where the Indian Institutes of Technology lag and how IITians can actually make a difference.
said he first called a professor of Indian origin in the US. "He was
frank enough to say that it conveyed immediately nothing. He said 20
million children are born in India every year. Only one per cent joins
the IIT. They are the best children in India. Wherever you put them
they will do very well. The value addition by IIT is very low to the
students, he pointed out."
The professor felt that, there may
be many hidden Ramanujans and Einsteins amongst the vast majority of
the students, which the IIT system does not touch.
greatest challenge for the Pan IITians and the nation is to find a
mechanism to identify those needles in the haystack," the President
said. He urged the IITians to look for hidden Ramanujans and bring them
to the mainstream.
The President's next call was to an Army
General who said they have nothing to do with the IITs. "While we see
many engineering grads join the army we are yet to see any IITian the
last two decades," the General had told the President.
President said, while a professor from the Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore said that it is a great challenge for the professors to teach
the students at IIT, as they are the 'cream of the cream', an IIT
director said the institute stands for 'excellence and discipline'.
President told the gathering that a friend told him that IIT takes the
best students and delivers the best to the world, but the direct
benefits for the nation in terms of knowledge products and intellectual
property is rather minimal.
Kalam was quick to add that since
they (IIT) selected the cream, the 'output is also cream'. The cream of
the cream, he said, goes to the US and they become the best. "The best
in and best out."
However, in a somber note he added that it
is ironical that the IIT, which is mandated to produce the best minds
for teaching and research is unable to attract the best faculty today.
President emphasised the need for PanIITians to expand the spirit of
IIT to touch every technical university in the country. "This will
create a vast number of quality students and faculty. This is
particularly important not only for taking care of the faculty needs of
IITs but also for taking up the challenges of development that would be
thrown open by the vision of the nation to become a developed one."
with what people from different walks of life has to say about IIT, the
President said that a senior government officer had a significant point
to make. "IIT stands for Brand India. However, of late it has become an
exclusive institution in a world, which should become more and more
inclusive and converging.
"Today more children from urban
affluent families who can afford to pay Rs 10,000 per month on
education alone could dream of joining the IIT.
"There are around 8 per cent of girl students in IIT, while the general average over 30 per cent in engineering.
institutions of the same caliber as IIT in the western world, have been
contributing much more to the industry than the IITs in India."
industry-IIT interaction, he said, has to become an icon to put their
brand on many products that will be used by the public on a daily
basis. The President said there should be a little bit of IIT in every
Indian. Since the Pan IITians have been in IIT, have been in India,
seen the best of educational institutions and industry across the
world, they can work with our present IIT system to bring this
transformation of making 'IIT inside' in all of us Indians and in
India, he added.
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