Saturday, December 03, 2005


Are NISs and IISERs the same or different? (by Dr. Manoj Pradhan)

The comparison is based on the 45 page UGC document [1] available in the UGC website on NIS and the news that has been published on IISERs [2, 3], so far. We used the news items regarding IISERs because we do not have access to any formal document about it and unlike the previous government which had made the NIS document publicly available the current government seems to have not done so.

[1] (NIS)

[2] (IISER)

[3] (IISER)

It is important to note that NIS was in an early stage and the document hows the status in 2003. Still there exist a detailed document, on its objective, mission, strategy functioning, budget and all associated information in detail. This is open to common public.

It seems that plan for IISER was a close door research and its inception and progress was all the way kept confidential for the reasons that would be clear after reading this report.

In my opinion, the NIS and IISER are the same. To delude public, wordings are carefully changed and cosmetic changes have been made. The present government at the center was apparently sure that, there can be interrogation/ agitation by public while changing the location from BBSR to Kolkata and reducing number of institutes from four to two.

1. Inception of both are mostly due to lake of science institutes in the country, other than IISc, where no under graduate courses are offered.

NIS: [1] (section 3.2)

………..There is no exclusive institute, excepting Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore for science education. Even IISc, Bangalore offers post B.Sc. programmes. As a result, meritorious students who take science at the 10+2 level tend to opt for professional programmes, at the first-degree level…………..

IISER : [2] RxPG news
……….It may be mentioned that at present the only Science Institute in the country is the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore which is fully funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. This Institute does not have an under-graduate stream and it caters to only post-graduate education and research……..

2. Both have same objective

NIS: [1] executive summary page 3
… is proposed that a number of new science Institutes need to be set-up at different places in the country to be the Centres of Excellence in Science Education. These Institutes would be designed to occupy, in the near future, prestigious position in the global setting for science education as IITs and IIMs presently occupy for engineering and management education. These Institutes would attract the brightest science students from all over the Country……

IISER: [3] Telegraph, Kolkata, Oct 29
………..The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, which got the final clearance of the Union cabinet on Thursday, will function as a counterpoint to the IITs and IIMs. Expected to be commissioned on a small scale next year, the institute will offer advanced, inter-disciplinary studies in science…………

3. Both mention of Interdisciplinary nature studies

NIS: [1] Mission of NIS (section 5.1)
………The Mission of these National Institutes of Sciences is to be Global Centres of Excellence for education in basic and applied sciences, research in pure and applied sciences and also cutting edge technology development in interdisciplinary areas of importance to the country………

And (section 6.1)
The proposed institutes should serve as interdisciplinary institutions for education and research in the areas

IISER: [3] Telegraph Oct 29
…Science on revival route- New centre to offer integrated, inter-disciplinary studies…

4. Integrated programme after 10+2 level is the target of both institutes

NIS: [1] section (3.3)
……. We have to catch them young for five year integrated programme with a possibility of exit after three years’…………

IISER [3] (from telegraph Oct 29)
……….After passing Class XII, students can study under an integrated programme at the proposed institute………

5. Research based education

NIS: [1] (section 8.10)
…….so that students, right from the day one, can participate in creative endevours in research laboratories and study in exciting and creative atmosphere. Creative research atmosphere is an essential part of a good educational institution as discovery itself is the greatest and the most effective form of teaching and teaching and learning are viewed as an adventure in discovery………..

…We have to catch them young for five year integrated programme with a possibility of exit after three years’…………

……..’The concept is new, as students will be exposed to research-based education from a very young age…… [3] (from telegraph Oct 29)

….to set up high caliber institutes in which science teaching and education will be totally integrated with the state-of-the-art research…[2] (from RxPg news oct 25)

6. The faculty and resource sharing with other institutes

NIS: [1] page.13 point (e)
……….to involve national research laboratories, science agencies and the
corporate sector in pure and applied science education…….

[1] Section 9.3
………The Core Faculty shall be supplemented by (a) Joint Appointees holding appointments in the nearby reputed National R & D Institutes and the Link university, (b) Visiting Faculty drawn specifically from reputed research institutions in the country and abroad (c) Adjunct faculty drawn from Industry. Ratio of core faculty to the other faculty is likely to in the ratio of 60:40……..

[1] Section 8.20
………Accordingly, the Institute shall benefit both from UGC InfoNet and the Indian Digital Library in Engineering Science and Technology (INDEST) Consortium right from its inception……….

IISER [3] (from telegraph Oct 29)
……………other significant concept of the proposed IISER is to actively forge strong relationship with the existing universities and colleges and network laboratories and institutions, in order to share and complement faculty resources as well as research, library and computational facilities…………..

7. Statistics (please follow the equation ‘4 NIS= 2 IISER’)

NIS each [1] (TABLE- 1 & 2)
Total student strength= 1000
Total faculty strength=100 (core faculty)

IISER each: [2] RxPG News 14th Nov
Total student strength= 2000
Total faculty strength=200

8. The facts which support that ‘IISER’s are grown up ‘NIS’s

Please analyse following three section

i) [3] Telegraph (Oct 29)

Calcutta became a contender after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee mounted a campaign early this year. Backed by the Prime Minister, Bhattacharjee submitted a detailed proposal to the Centre.
“Delhi agreed to include Calcutta and in March 2005, asked the state government to prepare the groundwork for setting up the institute,” education department sources said.

In July 2005, the Planning Commission, after examining the ministry for human resource development proposal, recommended that instead of five cities, only Calcutta and Pune should house the centre.
“Buddhababu’s achievement lies in the fact that he could place Calcutta above all other locations,” said Satyasadhan Chakraborty, state higher education minister.

ii) NIS ([1] section 3.4 of 45 page document)

How MHRD lies now?

….This was approved in principle by the DST, MHRD, and the Planning Commission during the 9th Five Year Plan. However, only a token amount for preparing Detailed Project Report could be provided in the 9th plan. Realizing the importance and the urgent need for setting up such National Institutes of Sciences, this proposal has been approved as a part of the UGC’s 10th Five Year Plan. Recently, it was recommended that such Centres could be more appropriately called as National Institutes of Sciences. To work out academic, administrative and financial details, a High Powered Committee was set up by the UGC in early 2003……….

iii) NIS proposal was quite impartial and had many targets to achive, even it has a mention that in first phase four NIS will be set up (i.e. at Allahabad, Bhubaneswar, Chennai and Pune). There was a further plan to increase the number of Institutes in the next stage which could be at kolkata and Chandigarh…..

……….These Institutes (NISc’s) would e established at Pune, near the Pune University, at Allahabad near the Allahabad University, at Chennai near the Anna University and at Bhubaneshwar in close proximity of the Utkal University. In future, many more such institutions could be set up possibly at places such as Calcutta, Chandigarh etc. these Institutes shall be fully academically, administratively and financially autonomous and will have flexible academic programmes and supportive administrative structures……………

Please see other news:






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