Vinayak Garg :

Vision for IIT Delhi

In January 2009, senate of IIT Delhi had called for vision statements for IIT Delhi from students, and this document was prepared as a response to the call. This document was prepared by me along with Bhushan Shinde.

IIT delhi


We would like to submit the ‘Vision for IITD’ on the basis of the experiences we have had and the observations we made throughout our stay of 5 years as a Dual Degree student and as an alumni of this institute, respectively. Our stay here has had an overwhelming influence on the qualities we have imbibed and we are very obliged and proud to be a part of the phenomenon called IIT Delhi.

Since last year we have taken an initiative to motivate other members of the student community of IIT Delhi to be proactive in achieving positive goals for a virtuous academic system through the ‘V.I.S.V.A.S.’ endeavor. A tremendous response and appreciation from the student and the faculty community alike has strengthened our belief in the system and we are absolutely confident that IIT Delhi would successfully achieve whatever it sets as its vision coupled by dedicated efforts for its implementation.


We understand that IITs were conceived as centers of excellence meant to produce technocrats for a newly-resurgent India. But the Indian economy could not absorb the products of IIT for a long time, and until nineties IITs ended up producing some of the finest technocrats for global corporations. With the current growth of India and its recognition worldwide there is a demand for technical expertise here as well. We thus need to focus on research professionals also as it is the demand of our booming industrial growth. Industrial growth require technological research and with the brand such as IIT already available at hand it would be sensible to develop these as centres for research excellence as well than creating separate research facilities for technological purpose. Basic science research centres can obviously be looked at to be built separately. There should be a well defined national and global level objective in all our endeavors backed up by strong and proactive feedback and review mechanism. Only then can we achieve all of the following visions.

We present a 4 point ‘Vision for IITD’, as per our understanding.

  1. To be the preferred employer globally: IIT-Delhi currently has some of the best professors, it not only needs to retain them but also continue to attract the best minds from around the world. Today, opportunities for bright minds are tremendous, and IIT Delhi needs to continuously evolve itself to provide a most welcoming environment for its faculty. Besides providing desirable research infrastructure and research funding, there is a need to provide opportunity to faculty to innovate through new styled courses, or through activities introduced in an IAP (Independent Activities Period)
  2. To be the preferred institute for undergraduate program:
    1. To promote interaction of UG students with research scholars (PhD) for projects and thus expose them to the ways of research.-These would have (govt. /industrial sponsorship (kind of monetary work, campus job during semester) for UG students. UG students would benefit from research experience of ongoing PhD work and get a feel of research.
    2. To promote interdisciplinary projects among students, exposing them to the wider aspects of academic world, within and beyond engineering disciplines. IITD would produce aware students, capable of handling current world crisis relating to global climate change, healthcare concerns, global economic meltdown etc
    3. Present student led papers and research at national and international level seminars/conferences-One way could be to award some credits for the work done and resultant recognition at the conferences.
    4. Student Scientific publication: Establish prominence through publication of an online scientific journal. It is necessary, as it not only provides a platform for IIT students to showcase their ideas, but it also acts as a window into the IITD’s academic arena.
    5. Industrial Interaction of students: Focus on preparing the students for the world, through exposure to industrial processes. Semester long industrial internships, industrial visits and lecture series may be incorporated to provide the same.
    6. Multiple Majors in different Dept.: To allow students to declare his/her major for B.Tech in second year. This would enable students to make an informed choice of their majors and pursue it with more interest.
  3. Build research centers of International repute: It would promote research interest among students, and idea generation. Research exchange programs may be conducted to create international exposure, and develop cutting-edge products through collaborative efforts.
  4. To bring about a positive change in the world: Initiate involvement in community work on the institute level by recognizing such work for due credits in the semester rather than NSS which doesn’t have stronger incentive. The focus should be on creating socially responsible citizens.

See all posts »

My journey through systems ….

Sardar Patel VidyalayaMy first tryst with a system of any kind was at ‘Sardar Patel Vidyalaya’ where I spent 14 years, from my nursery years to finally complete my Senior secondary (or 12th boards as popularly called !!).

I enjoyed school, and recall many instances, mostly small, that shaped my learning and have left a distinct mark on the way I perceive things. But it wasn’t until I actually left the school that I realized how cherished the system at my school was, all the procedures and methodologies which I had taken for granted, now seemed like innovations. Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, named after the legendary freedom fighter Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, also known as the Iron Man of India, was run by Gujarat Education Society and was based on the principles of free thinking and equitable distribution of opportunities. School encouraged each student to participate in each activity and test his capability in all areas ranging from art, sports, public speaking etc.

It is this idea that I really feel needs to be extended to all education systems across levels: providing students with enough exposure so as to enable them to make them ‘informed choice’ in future. I realize that most of the changes that I have been pursuing in the academic system somewhere draw heavily from this philosophy.

IIT delhiIndian Institute of Technology Delhi, or simply IITD, was my next pit-stop. I entered my class with the lowest rank but graduated with rank 1; this was a land of opportunities. Everything was possible here, and more importantly IITD managed to instill this confidence in people that everything IS possible!! Looking back if there is one thing that I am taking back from IITD then it is the confidence that I can achieve anything that I set my heart upon. So much is going on in IITD which involves students that they are entrusted with responsibilities every now and then, and they learn to face crisis while still keeping a smile on the face.

This is not to say that everything is perfect here and it is heaven, after all it is here that I started my NGO VISVAS to reform the academic system. A lot needs to be changed, both from the end of students and administration, but for the first post I would like to concentrate on the brighter sides.

It was here at IITD that I was given an opportunity to go on a year long exchange to INSA-Lyon, France. I feel that it was a turning point in my life because not only did I matured a lot living alone and traveling across Europe for a year, but exposure to a different academic system actually broadened my awareness about the dynamics of its working and what are the alternatives for each.

Instead of classifying the whole system as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it had enabled me to breakdown system into pieces and analyze characteristics of each and how it fits in with others to complete the puzzle.

Buddhist MonasteryAfter graduation, I was chosen by SPICMACAY (Society for promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) for a Gurukul scholarship, and I spent 6 weeks in monastery of H.H. Dalai Lama. That was a window into an ecosystem which thrived totally on faith and devotion. Initially it seems that logic stops here and it is blind faith that is governing the lives, but dwelling deeper I could find threads that link it to our system and how so much could be adapted from these monasteries and our religious schools into the main stream educational institutes. I also spent some time at the Tibetan children’s village (TCV), interacting with students conducting career counseling sessions and enriching myself all along.

Our education system certainly lacks faith; faith of students in their teachers, faith of teacher in the system, and faith of system in its students: we need to bring it all back!

I beong to a family of academicians, and throughout I have been in touch with academics of different universities and colleges, with my parents being professors at colleges of Delhi University, and my relatives being professors at different universities across India. Recently my sister completed her studies from Shri Ram College of Commerce, providing me an insight into the student side of the story.

Even with my NGO, V.I.S.V.A.S. I have had an opportunity to interact with many students, teachers and principals of different colleges of Delhi University. We have been involved with activities and product implementation to solve problems of these colleges.

Armed with these experiences I decided to start putting on record my thoughts on education system as prevalent in India, and as we would like it to be. The main purpose of placing my thoughts here is to invite other perspectives and together look at each piece of this puzzle from different angles.

See all posts »