The Indian Institute of Technology is by far the most recognizable educational brand as well as establishment across the entirety of India's demographic and geographic vastness. Whenever an Indian needs to through up something commendable regarding the Indian education system, the name of IIT is a surety to spring up in the discussion. Such is the aura and charismatic dominance of the IITs in the minds and hearts of Indians.
The IITs were set up few years after independence by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as an act of atonement after he had preliminarily compromised with primary education. This foresighted act of Nehru for the sake of science and technology's development in India made up for his earlier blunders in education.
This step heralded a new beginning in the history of Indian academics as the IITs slowly emerged as oases of educational development amongst the barren lands of higher education and research depravation. The later years witnessed the key role played by the IITs in nurturing India's dream of matching up to the global standards of technical education and research.
The IITs not only assisted the realization of the great Indian dream but also helped the nation to move on a path of greater prosperity and development through indigenous advancements in multiple fields. The dynamic growth of India has meant that now we not need workforce, capital and infrastructure but also newer aspects like knowledge, skill, innovation and original thinking.
The modern concepts of advanced knowledge, skill and innovation require ample amounts of supplements from various sectors. They are methods which when employed in different fields; culminate to form a new product or idea. This proves the importance of different disciplines and fields of study for ascending the ladder of further development.
In order to help meet the various demands whose solutions often lie at the crossroads of different streams, it has been suggested from many quarters to raise the status of IITs from mere technical colleges to multidisciplinary universities to mingle a unique variety of streams with the fabled quality of the institute.
Many experts are of the opinion that such initiatives can turn to be suicidal in the long run. Nowhere will anyone find a dozen Harvards or scores of MITs. The expansion of premier institutes only compromises with their quality and they eventually lose their former credibility. The introductory initiation of smaller courses in IITs has not been a grand success in any of the 4 IITs where they have been launched. "It is never wise to kill a golden goose while forcing it to lay more eggs," said a senior IIT professor.
On the other hand, optimists opine that IITs are the best options for India to build world class universities and uphold its education's status in the global arena. It needs to be understood that multidisciplinary universities are often the most successful and vibrant of all. It has often been seen that the melange of multiple disciplines boosts collaborative research and educational development due to the overlapping nature of academics. The emergence of IITs as universities will help India turn IITs into a global brand and help India to sustain its growth by multidisciplinary research and development.