I’m not fully convinced as to why everyone is currently bashing the Jio Institute up. When the ‘Institutions of Eminence’ scheme’s rules were announced in August 2017 and greenfield institutions were welcomed to apply, everyone was either perfectly okay with the idea or didn’t bother. But now everyone has a problem with it because Jio Institute chose to apply and was selected as one of those greenfield institutions.
This somehow reeks of Vijay Mallya all over again: to focus on one scapegoat – vulnerable as they are by virtue of being in the news and exposing the government to public pressure – instead of paying equal attention to the numerous other private institutes that have wrecked the higher education system through capitation fees. If ‘greenfield institutions’ is a legitimate category and if the government relaxed the rules a bit to let the Reliance-sponsored Jio Institute apply, I don’t see a problem as long as the rules haven’t prevented others from applying.
I get that some will say Mukesh Ambani himself wouldn’t have been able to apply if he wasn’t so pally with the PM and that it’s all crony capitalism on show. I’m more pissed off that only six non-greenfield institutions could be selected from a pool of 114 applicants – that’s a proper fuck-up right there. But most of all, I’m still interested in the fact that there’s still time: the MHRD hasn’t dished the tags out yet; it’s only mailed letters of intent out that transform to MoUs that provide the tag after a three-year follow-up.
When the ‘Institutions of Eminence’ rules were first put down, we didn’t give a damn, which I’m going take as an admission that it’s okay for greenfield institutions to exist and apply. If we really give a damn about this particular idea, then the fact that the MoUs are three years away should make us sit up, take notice and fight. We. Have. Time.
We shouldn’t be getting carried away just because it’s Reliance. The fouls haven’t yet been committed and I think if we don’t give Jio Institute a chance (and open ourselves up to just a little bit of disappointment, I’m aware), it’s just… stupid. It’s acrimony for acrimony’s sake.