‘The new education policy to impact hospitality sector positively’

Arvind Singh, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, talks about the need of educational and administrative reforms in hospitality institutes, teaching and research

Come 2022 and one of the most premier institutions in the country that offers quality hospitality education at undergraduate, graduate and post graduate levels – the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition – will celebrate its Diamond Jubilee. It was six decades back, in 1962, that IHM was established by the Government of India at Pusa, New Delhi by the then Department of Food, Ministry of Food and Agriculture. A year later, two more institutes, at Kolkata and Chennai, were took off. The catering institute, established by All India Women’s Central Food Council in 1954 at Mumbai, was taken over by the Government in 1979 and upgraded to an IHM like the other three. 

To regulate these institutes with common admission, curriculum and examination, the Government established the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) in 1982 and a couple of years later, the mandate to run the hospitality education was transferred by the Government to the Ministry of Tourism from the Ministry of Agriculture. Accordingly, all the establishments came under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Today, 27 state IHMs and 13 FCIs are running various academic programmes in the field of hospitality. 

With the approval of the Ministry of Tourism in 2006 and to fulfill its mandate, NCHMCT opened the doors for affiliation of hotel management institutes to the private sector which meet out the infrastructural norms as prescribed by NCHMCT. Under this process, NCHMCT grants affiliation to the eligible private institutes to offer its flagship programmes at the undergraduate level. Since 2007-08, 29 private institutes of hotel management, located in different parts of the country, came under the academic umbrella of NCHMCT through its affiliation process. As on date, there are 21 Central IHMs; 27 state IHMs; 1 PSU IHM; 29 private institutes and 13 FCIs running hospitality related courses at PG, UG, PG Diploma, Diploma and Craft Certificate levels under the academic umbrella of NCHMCT.   

Additionally, over a lakh three-year diploma holders and an equal number of BSc graduates have been placed in the hospitality industry in India and around the globe, most renowned chefs and top corporate executives in the hospitality industry being IHM alumnus. The vision is to catalyse a coordinated growth and development of hospitality industry in the country thereby contributing to the growth of Indian economy. Keeping the vision of the Government about building the capacity in the private sector for higher education, the expansion in hospitality education will be witnessed with private investment with the regulatory guidance from the NCHMCT.

IHM Pusa, New Delhi

Excerpts from an interview with Arvind Singh, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India

What changes has the pandemic brought into hospitality education with reference to the IHMs? How has the learning environment been supported with the aid of technology?

The pandemic has been the biggest disrupter in our living memory. The institutions were suddenly shut down mid-session without a clue about the way out. Within weeks of shutdown, the institutions came to terms with the situation and migrated their academic activities online. While practice still pose some limitation in the online mode for effective coaching, for conceptual skills and knowledge lessons, there are advantages available, like access to national and international experts who could remotely connect with the students. Besides, the faculty of IHMs became more tech-savvy and attracted towards e-content development which helped them to engage the students during the lockdown period.

What does the course curriculum at IHMs entail and how does it compare with the system and syllabus at international institutes?

IHMs are laying emphasis on hospitality operational management knowledge and skill along with general management input and their syllabus is articulated accordingly. This is in contrast to many international hospitality management institutes focussing on business aspect of the hospitality industry and making them rely on the expertise of chefs, housekeepers and event managers. Our syllabus is more inclusive as we give due emphasis to knowledge and skill of hotel operations with managerial input because the aim is to train and help them get employment at junior management level and then move their way up the organisation’s hierarchy. The new Education Policy is offering a unique opportunity and we plan to further upgrade the curriculum to inculcate the elements of our tradition and cultural heritage into the modern curriculum.

How do IHMs help aspiring hoteliers in career placements?

The institutions facilitate the recruiters to make their presentations about their companies’ vision, mission and culture to the students and let them make a selection. There are active placement cells in each institution which coordinates with companies and schedule them for placement talks and selection tests. Since placement in the pandemic time became challenging, NCHMCT collaborated with ITDC to bring trained and educated degree/ certificate holders to up-skill their capabilities to match current requirements in changed Covid-19 situation. Emphasis is also on creating entrepreneurial skills for standalone business in the hospitality sector. 

Is there a need of educational and administrative reforms in hospitality institutes, teaching and research?

The new Education Policy is a huge reform in the education system, which is going to impact the hospitality education positively. To give a shot in the arm to the IHMs, efforts are on to grant status of the “institutions of national importance” by an Act of Parliament. 

By this Act, keeping in view the spirit of the new education policy, the competitive edge in the offerings in the IHMs will be brought about by incorporation of industry oriented research into the curriculum. The research undertaken by the faculty and students of the IHMs will then likely be of the level, that the industry becomes willing to pay to use the reports so generated and approach them for solving their pressing problems.

Has any study been conducted by the MoT on manpower requirement in hospitality, travel, tourism and F&B sector?  

In January 2021, during the General Body Meeting of the NCHMCT Society under the chairpersonship of Minister of Tourism, it was resolved that a study would be undertaken by IHMs in their respective catchment areas to assess the current demand of manpower not only from the hospitality industry but all service sector industries where there is demand for hospitality graduates. Accordingly, instructions have been issued to all IHMs to conduct the survey and submit the report to NCHMCT for compilation. It is likely to be completed shortly. The hospitality industry is dynamic in nature and with customer behaviour changing rapidly, especially during the pandemic, the analyses are dynamic and will keep adjusting to the new paradigm. 

What is the current status and potential of hospitality education in India? 

Before the pandemic, the projection for the tourism and hospitality industries in India depicted a phenomenal gap between the requirement of talent and its availability in the country to sustain and grow the industry. As the situation starts looking up again, there may be a dearth of qualified professionals. At present, about 10,000 students graduate with a hospitality degree every year from the institutes affiliated with NCHM, Noida and nearly a quarter of the number with hotel operation diploma courses being offered by IHMs and FCIs affiliated with NCHM, Noida.

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'F&B SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 7, ISSUE 5'


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