For A Life beyond IITs and IIMs

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Private institutes now offer Indian students a range of new choices, says Diksha Grover

IMMEDIATELY AFTER his Class 10 exams were over, 15-year-old Ritwik Gupta moved to Kota in Rajasthan to prepare for his engineering entrance test at one of many coaching institutes. His parents want to ensure that he gets an entry into one of the premier engineering institutes. “There is no future until you get a proper education from a good institute like IIT,” says Ritwik’s father. Of the 384,977 candidates who appeared in the examination conducted on April 12, 2009, 10,035 candidates have been declared qualified to seek admission, giving a selectivity of 1 in 38 overall, 1 in 46 for the 8,295 seats in IITs, IT-BHU and ISMU and 1 in 59 for the IITs only. So what if Ritwik is not among those 10, 035 qualified candidates?

Just like Ritwik, 20-yearold Ratna Sengupta has been busy appearing for management entrance tests like CAT, XAT and MAT. She admits that she is not a brilliant student but she wants to do her MBA from a “decent institute”. For students like Ritwik and Ratna, private institutes have opened up new platforms and avenues.

Though privately funded institutions are in existence since Independence, many private universities (or institutions classified as universities by the University Grants Commission or those that define themselves as university) have come up only recently. Many of these universities offer multi-disciplinary professional courses similar to state funded universities. However, institutions offering single stream specialisation programs are also in existence.

Some of the best engineering and management schools in the country are privately owned. The Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) in Pilani and the Birla Institute of Technology in Ranchi are two well respected private universities that are considered as being competitive with the Indian Institutes of Technology.

Manipal University in another famous private university. It has over 20 constituent colleges that offer over 180 programs in 14 disciplines. Many institutes specialising in management education like Xavier Labour Relations Institute, and The Indian Institute of Planning and Management have been around since the 1940s and 1970s respectively. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai is a respected name in social work. Symbiosis University, a top management and law university, is another private university. It started its engineering faculty in 2008.

In short, life doesn’t end with the IITs and IIMs. It’s happening without the two.

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