IITs to open up for medicine

11:48PM Fri 10 Sep, 2010

Institutes to allow foreign faculty, students

New Delhi - Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) may soon lose their exclusivity as centres of excellence in engineering sciences as they soon will branch out to include studies in medicine.

The IITs can provide medical education except awarding a degree for practice of medicine and can conduct inter-disciplinary research incorporating medicine, an IIT council meeting decided here on Friday.

"When a degree is imparted for practice of medicine, the clearance from the Medical Council of India (MCI) has to be taken by the institutes," Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters after the council meeting here on Friday.

Out of the seven IITs, so far only IIT-Kharagpur has shown interest in giving degree and even running a hospital. Other IITs are only keen on inter-disciplinary research.
"The areas of medicine involve a large number of engineering techniques. The council felt that appropriate amendment in the Institutes of Technology Act may be considered to enable IITs to offer courses in medicine with the approval of the MCI," Sibal said.

It was also decided in the meeting that the HRD Ministry would take proactive steps for a mechanism to enable eminent academics from foreign nations and overseas citizens of India to serve in the IITs as permanent faculty. They would constitute up to 10 per cent of their total faculty strength.

Similarly to encourage diversity of learning, foreign students might be allowed admission up to 20 per cent on a supernumerary basis in postgraduate programme without affecting the present admission norms for Indian students.

An interim report was also presented at the meeting as an alternative to the present system of admission to engineering colleges, including IITs.

"While there were several suggestions and concerns expressed on the interim recommendations, there was unanimity that the present examination system of JEE and AIEEE, etc has to change to reduce the burden on account of the multiplicity of entrance examination and that any new system has to recognise the diversity of learning within the country," he said.

The council decided a panel would be constituted to assess the examination and admission system in engineering programmes and submit its recommendations within three months. While some of the council members said the results of Class XII exams along with that of a national aptitude test would be adequate for admission to all engineering colleges, the seven IITs wanted an add-on test for their admission.

Sep 10, DHNS