By Dr P R Prasad
In the present era of a highly competitive world, it appears to me that my Alma Mater BIT Sindri is struggling to grow to a stature which it deserves. When I was in ISc and a prospective engineering student, I had learnt that BIT Sindri was set to become a top institute in Asia under the dynamic leaderships of the then Director, Prof D L Deshpande and the Chief Minister Dr Sri Krishna Singh. But after their demise, BIT’s dream to find a place among top institutes of Asia got systematically wiped out by proactive voices to make it primarily a state level institute (previously of Bihar and now of Jharkhand).
BIT Sindri came into existence as College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in 1949 at Patna. Later it was shifted to Sindri on 17th November 1950. Those who are aware of the background of BIT’s birth will remember that it came into existence only because the first IIT of the independent India was denied to Bihar and sanctioned to Bengal at Kharagpur. BIT was thus born with a vision to become an institution atleast at par with IIT if not better.
I feel really proud when I read the Mission, Vision and Goal of my alma mater mentioned on BIT Sindri’s official web site. It says —
To achieve academic excellence of International standard
To impart quality education in engineering and technology and produce highly technically trained human resources of world class quality. To promote research and development in the emerging and thrust areas and attainment of academic excellence
To become dynamic, quality conscious, forward looking and responsive to global economic & technological development by imparting quality technical education
These days I find people discussing round the social media and in personal interactions as to whether BIT Sindri is able to live upto the expectations of its stated Mission, Vision and Goal. The opinions stand sharply divided. Most people are emotionally attached and derive satisfaction and pride in remaining glued to its glorious past while others feel that this legacy has not propelled its growth to a rightful status. Obviously, emotions, feelings or beliefs can be justified but cannot be countered by any logic. The opinion choice therefore remains with the stakeholders and everyone seems to be right in his/her own context.
As for myself, as a student, faculty, alumnus and guardian for several years at BIT Sindri, I had the opportunity to observe its functioning very closely first under the state of Bihar and then Jharkhand. Based on my experiences, I wish to make only two observations at this point of time – (i) BIT students are amongst the best in the world and (ii) no state government is capable of running and maintaining an educational institution of BIT Sindri stature. I feel, if BIT is allowed to remain what it remained so far, it might be pushed to the oblivion by the passage of time. People ask me, “What should be done?” Honestly speaking, I don’t know. But…
Some clues can be taken from some contemporary institutions’ growth history which can inspire BITians while planning growth strategy. These institutions have left the past and moved ahead to aquire the tag of “Institute of National Importance” from MHRD/UGC.
B E College Shibpur
Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur in West Bengal was the country’s second-oldest institution for engineering education established in 1856 under the state Government and affiliated to Calcutta University. The college was elevated to the status of a “Deemed University” in 1992 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India on the recommendation of a UGC Expert Committee and was formally inaugurated in March 1993. It was elevated to a full fledged university status in 2004 as Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur.
In March 2014, it was further elevated to national status by amending the National Institutes of Technology and Science Education and Research (NITSER) Act, 2007, renaming it as Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur (भारतीय अभियांत्रिकी विज्ञान एवं प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान, शिवपुर), commonly abbreviated as IIEST Shibpur, and granting it the status of Institute of National Importance at par with the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institute of Science.
The present IIT Roorkee had a modest beginning as the Thomason College of Engineering in the year 1847, and was converted to the First Technical University of India in the year 1949. On September 21, 2001, an Ordinance issued by the Government of India declared it as the nation’s seventh Indian Institute of Technology. The Ordinance is now converted into an Act by the Parliament to make IIT Roorkee as an “Institute of National Importance“.
BCE Patna was started as survey training school in 1886 and later upgraded to a full-fledget engineering college in 1924 as Bihar College of Engineering, Patna. It was thus born as the 6th Oldest Engineering Institute of India. In January 2004, it was further upgraded as the 18th NIT and rechristened as National Institute of Technology, Patna. It is now a fully autonomous institute and has been declared as an Institute of National Importance by MHRD, Government of India.
The McPherson Committee formed by Govt. of India, recommended the establishment of an institution for imparting education in the fields of Mining and Geology, whose report, submitted in 1920, formed the main basis for establishment of the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. The Indian School of Mines was formally opened on 9th December 1926, by Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India to address the need for trained manpower related to mining activities in the country with disciplines of Mining and Applied Geology. In 1967 it was granted the status of a deemed to be university. The Indian School of Mines University is now a strong contender to get the status of IIT. Meanwhile, all the stakeholders of ISMU have intensified their campaign for IIT status. The IIT council is likely to take decision on ISMU demand on September 22 or first week of October.
My simple wish… “Institute of National Importance” tag for my Alma Mater BIT Sindri