Can we create an MIT-like institution in our life-time?
Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi spoke, not long ago, at the Centenary celebrations of the Patna University, about creating a competition from among the top 20 universities for reaching the Centres of Excellence by allotting Rs.1, 000 crores to each one of them.
That was a brilliant or a wild idea, depending upon how one views such a proposal. No doubt it was a brilliant idea. After all, one has to take some such drastic and unconventional idea, given India’s moribund state of the higher education sector. India’s higher education is in a state of mess. It seems beyond redemption when you look at the sector critically.
Also, let us become a bit serious and develop some degree of gravitas to imagine that Indian higher education can be revamped by one individual, however powerful politically he or she is.
So, it is time to at least read what here we present.
The president of the MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one institution that has no parallel when it comes to be an innovative education cum research centre. Rafael Reif, the one-time immigrant from Venezuela who is now the president of the MIT says that President Donald Trump’s travel ban against the Muslim majority countries is wrong for drawing talents to the US and thus enhancing its competitive advantage in the area of knowledge creation.
Also, Trump’s recent tax proposal to tax the rich private endowments like the MIT for government tax money is also illogical, says the prestigious academic voice.
By the way what is MIT doing, you know?
MIT has become now the centre of a booming biotech economy; its graduates have started more than 30,000 companies! That generates 2 trillion dollar revenue annually. Last year the university completed a 750 million dollar deal with the federal government to purchase a 14-acre tract which will be transformed to support more start-ups.
MIT filed seven amicus briefs to oppose the travel ban. Travel from eight countries (Muslim?) restricted including Venezuela. Also, the MIT had challenged another of the legislation to defer the Childhood Arrivals, who are protected from deportation.
Reif believes that the new immigration policies would harm the health of the American economy.
But then, we Indians, must be knowing how the past relations between the US and China evolved.
There was a time when the Chinese overseas migration was the biggest event, the Chinese migrants in the USA was the biggest group and how relations between the two countries led to growth and also expulsion, also the outward migration of the US missionaries led to 400 million Chinese heathens for conversion.
Much of the history of the US-China relations Indians are unlikely to be aware ad we are now only in the very thick of anxiety and insecurity about our own migration, the H-1 B Visa is our lifeline to survival in the new century.
So, we have to look at the past, the present and the future to imagine is there a way for the long-term growth of the Indian scientific talents to flourish in the current uncertainties and insecurities.
India must draw back its talents wherever it is feasible and needed to equip our higher education and scientific establishments.
Can Indian draw up a blueprint for action in raising the bar of our own higher education?
MIT attracts, why MIT alone, even other private institutions like Harvard and others the best talents from around the world.
We don’t have the funds.
But we could focus our attention to encourage our own science and technology promotion funding. Some of our older universities and IITs must take the lead.
Let us make a start.