Elusive Excellence (Twelve Thousand Hours at an IIT: Preparation for Elusive Excellence)
As under-graduate student at an elite technological institute like the IIT, spends anywhere upto 12 thousands academic hours over five years in the most formative years of his life. Since the pre-independence days there was a plan to establish an Indian MIT and this had found concrete expression in the recommendations of the Sarkar Committee Report in 1946. The objective of setting up such an Indian MIT was conceived of as to produce creative scientist – engineers in India. Therefore, it is not unrealistic to expect that the student who spends twelve thousand hours at anyone of the five IITs would contribute towards technological excellence in India. Based on an exploratory research undertaken in collaboration with IIT, Bombay, this paper argues that due to several organisational contradictions which permeate the Institute neither the preparation nor the pursuit of technological excellence has come about nor can come about under the prevailing conditions. While the data pertains to one IIT, the parallels for similar professional institutions in science, technology, medicine, and management are too striking to be brushed aside.
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