Sibal skips IIT meet

Sibal skips IIT meet

Sibal skips IIT meet

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Wednesday skipped the meeting of the IIT Council convened by him so that there was no "political interference" in the decision making, sources said.

The meeting was organised to discuss the modalities of a proposed common entrance test after it was opposed by some of the premier engineering institutions of the country.

He skipped the crucial meeting of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Council even though he is its chairman, but Sibal did not miss on making it clear that welfare of students was his priority.

In a written address to the meeting that he skipped, the HRD minister made an emotionally charged statement saying: "I have always taken my responsibilities as a union minister seriously and tried to do my best by what the nation, and most importantly - its children who are its future - require of me."

Sibal, who had been in line of fire during last few days with several professors and senate members from IITs launching attack on him for the decision they held as being "political", chose to skip the meeting held here Wednesday afternoon.

Though no official information was given on his absence, sources said he had skipped the meeting so that there was no "political interference" in the council's decision making. An IIT professor present in the meeting said it had been conveyed earlier that the minister will not be attending the meeting.

"I have always believed that quality education is a collaborative venture requiring active participation of everyone - the state governments, the union government, its institutions, parents and society. And this venture is above everything that can divide us - politics, or boundaries or ego," Sibal said.

Defending himself further, the minister in his statement said that the decision on a new exam pattern was taken by the IIT Council, based on several recommendations.  "We are creating an army of children adept at cracking examinations but can they think critical?" he asked.

"As a union minister and the chairman of this council, I have a responsibility to the entire education system, which I must fulfill," he said.  In Sibal's absence, the meeting was chaired by M.N. Sharma, chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT, Madras.

Sharma also came out in defence of the minister and said he was not to be blamed for the pattern decided upon earlier. "The council had taken the decision," he said, adding that there was no tension between the IITs and the minister.