20 January, 2021

We Don’t Need No Single System

India requires both subsidised public colleges and quality private universities

Illustration by Manjul
We Don’t Need No Single System

We live in a strange country. Our ­domestic help wants to send her grandkid (in Ongole, Andhra Pradesh) to a private school at an annual cost of over Rs 25,000. Why? ­Because it is a private English-medium school and could boost her chances of joining our highly subsidised college education system. The parents of a child who gets into an IIT would have probably spent 10 to 20 times the amount of money on preparation for the ­entrance exam than they will once she is inside the coveted institution.

Having benefitted from the munificence of an IIT and its fee structure, I have no reason to complain. A lot has been written about ‘Brand IIT’ getting diluted with the setting up of one institute in every state. However, I do not think that is an issue as the brand is strong enough to endure this extension and ‘dilution’. The establishment of new IITs will help improve the state of engineering education in India and hopefully, they will serve as beacons of hope and aspiration across the country.

But IITs too have new battles to fight. The...



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