India to add seven new elite IT training institutes

1.3 million students a year take entrance exams, 10,000 are offered places

India has named the three cities in which it will build new Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and revealed it will name another four cities in January 2016 to bring the total count of such institutions to 25.

India is blunt about the purpose of the IITs, saying they “are expected to bring out high quality IT manpower required for building up IT industry in the country.” With that aim in mind, it will come as no surprise that the new IITs are Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) although five are entirely public sector affairs.

Places in the IITs are fiercely contested. The first-round Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) is taken by around 1.3 million students each year. Of those, only around 150,000 are offered the chance to sit the second, Advanced, exam and around 10,000 are offered places in IITs. Winning a a place, and completing the four-year bachelor degrees, is a ticket to prosperity. India has also, in recent years, tweaked the IIT system to generate more PhD candidates.

India has a long history of selective tests of this sort: the nation's famed engineering schools, founded in the 1950s, operated along similar lines.

The three new IITs, in Ranchi, Nagpur and Pune, have support from Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, M/s ADCC Infocad, Nagpur and M/s Hubtown, Mumbai.

While the private sector does plenty of heavy lifting in the IITs, India's investment is substantial: the Pune institute will be given 100 acres of State Government land, Nagpur gets 88 acres and the Ranch facility will take over an existing college. 2016 enrolments will be modest, around 100 in each new IIT, but will accelerate over time. ®


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