New Delhi: After being granted autonomy, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have started giving one-year executive MBA degrees instead of PG diplomas, despite reservations from the government, ThePrint has learnt.
Senior officials in the Ministry of Human Resource Development told ThePrint that the government had last year opposed IIMs’ idea to give out a one-year executive MBA degree, as India has no provision for a degree with a course length of only one year.
IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta and Indore are running one-year executive MBA programmes — they have also advertised about the course on their official websites.
HRD ministry’s objections
Ministry officials had told the IIMs at a meeting last year that they wanted them to continue with the PG Diploma, but they refused to accept the ministry’s point of view.
“If IIMs start giving one-year MBA degrees, non-IIMs will also start following suit, and then the government will not be able to stop them from doing so. There is no provision in India for a one-year degree,” said a senior HRD ministry official who deals with the IIMs.
“They are setting a very wrong precedent among management institutions, which is why this issue was raised with them last year. But IIMs refused to listen. Ahmedabad has already started a one-year executive MBA, Bangalore is also running it. We feel that other institutes will also follow the precedent now,” the official said.
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A Master’s degree is supposed to be granted for a minimum period of two years. Earlier, IIMs would only grant diplomas and not degrees, but autonomy from the government gave them degree-granting power under the IIM Act.
Foreign institutions, especially in countries where the education system follows the ‘4 + 1’ model, generally offer one-year executive MBAs. India, meanwhile, follows a ‘3 + 2’ model — three years for undergraduate programmes, and two years for postgraduate degrees but only one for PG diplomas.
The HRD ministry raised its objection because there is no provision under the University Grants Commission (UGC) for a one-year degree.
“If the UGC issues an order specifically in case of IIMs allowing the one-year degree, we don’t have a problem with it. Else, it can lead to legal repercussions in future,” the official said.
UGC regulations for awarding Master’s degrees state: “No student shall be eligible for the award of the master’s degree unless he/she has successfully completed a minimum of two years after the first degree or five years after plus two or earned the minimum number of credits prescribed by the university for the programme.”
Asked about the matter, professor Shailesh Gandhi, Dean (Programmes) at IIM-Ahmedabad, told ThePrint over email: “IIMA has awarded the title of MBA to the participants of the one-year full-time Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives, in accordance with clause 7(f) of the IIM Act, 2017. The same title has been awarded by other IIMs for similar programmes.”
Clause 7 (f) of the IIM Act reads: “Every institute shall exercise the following powers and perform the following functions…to grant degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions or titles and to institute and award fellowships, scholarships, prizes and medals, honorary awards and other distinctions.”
Meanwhile, IIM-Bangalore director professor G. Raghuram told ThePrint via email: “We do not agree with your premise that the HRD ministry was in opposition to this idea.”
Last year, Times of India had quoted IIM-Calcutta sources as saying that “the programme was renamed only after the approval from Board of Governors, which is the highest decision making body and was done in accordance with the IIM Act”.
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