IITs battling with faculty crunch; short of 2500 teachers

Create: 10/18/2011 - 16:49

The premier technical education institutes – Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are grappling with the issue of faculty crunch. The two new directors at the IIT in Delhi and Roorkee are struggling with an acute shortage of faculty. 

Prof R.K. Shevgaonkar, who took over as director at IIT-Delhi said, “IITs all over the country need 2,500 faculty members immediately to catch up with the standard student-to-teacher ratio of 10:1. Every IIT is short of 30% faculty, he says. This has happened due to addition of 54% seats to accommodate more students in the OBC quota in the past few years. IIT-Delhi has 416 faculty members against the required 800 teachers.”

“This is the scenario despite the 107 faculty it has hired from across the world in the past four years. These are Indians with foreign degrees. IITs are not allowed to hire foreign nationals as permanent or full-time faculty, said Prof M Balakrishnan, deputy director (faculty), IIT-Delhi. 

Another director Pradipta Banerji, who took charge of IIT-Roorkee on October 14, 2011 is bothered by 1:18 teacher-student ratio at Roorkee. "The sanctioned faculty strength at IIT-Roorkee is 900 and we are not even half-way through We are already in talks with alumni networks to look for talent. Why just abroad, we can look at hiring quality faculty members from other educational institutes in India," he added.

The shortage of faculty is due to the expansion of IITs. However, over a decade, the new institutions will create new scientists and engineers that can serve as faculty in IITs. 

The director of IIT-Kanpur, Sanjay Dhande, who was in Washington DC for the Indo-US Higher Education Summit, was busy scouting for talent there. He has already identified two young professors as potential hires. IIT-Kanpur has one of the better student to-teacher ratios at 13:1 with 350 faculty members, but it is still some distance away from the required numbers. 

IIT-Kanpur Director Sanjay Dhande thinks people can't just walk into an IIT and start teaching. "People who can be groomed need to be brought on board. It is the failure of academic leadership if there is a paucity of talent," he said.

The younger IITs story is no different opined IIT-Guwahati Director Gautam Barua. Started in 1994, it has 295 faculty members against the 385 that it needs. "Shortages are more pronounced in certain disciplines and sub-disciplines. There is a paucity of faculty talent in chemistry, design, computer sciences and bigger shortages in sub-areas such as database networks," Barua remarked.

However, Barua said that institute is using social media to find talent because of lack of alumni network.

While most of the older IITs rely a great deal on their alumni networks to hunt for talent, newer IITs do not have that option. IIT-Hyderabad is the only exception. Started in 2008, the institute has maintained the 10:1 student teacher ratio with 76 full-time faculty members catering to 770 students. Of this, 35% are fresh PhDs. Majority of them have been hired in the past two years. While 65% got PhDs from India the rest did PhD works abroad. 

"There is no harm in hiring fresh PhDs if they have high potential and have done quality research," says Uday Desai, director of IIT-Hyderabad. "It's a challenge to get quality faculty, but we have worked hard to acquire talent. Other IITs too are expanding and will require more faculties," he said. 

[Source: Economic Times]

 

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

IIT may be allowed faculty from abroad for a semester with the provision of sabbatical leave and exchange program

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

The top institutions all over the world have faculty from all parts of the world. This concept should be employed in India. Also IITs may hire Professors from abroad for a period of one semester to five years. This will certainly enhance the quality of teaching and research at IITs.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

There are many reasons for faculty shortages in IITs. First of all, it is the creation of faulty policies of IIT system itself. For instance, the recent IIT R advertisement says that one of the eligibility conditions for the post of professor is minimum four years of experience of teaching at IITs/IIMs/IISc/NITE. Does MIT/UCB/Caltech ever advertise in this manner ? Lot of introspection is needed among the IITs administrators on this issue.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Dear Sirs,
It is true that there exists good quality faculty crunch at IITs ( not only in IITs but also in ITIs, polys, and various Engg.colleges). This was anticipated long back by many visionaries in education and talked about. The question is how to solve the problem and what is that we have done ?etc. We do not get quality engineers/technicians/tradesmen for our industry. Dependance of we the Indians in Engg. solutions is increasing, as the days to come, benefiting the firms in foreign countries for creating sales extensions in India. Majority of our so called Engineers/technicians boils down to sales/BPOs/IT/Management jobs.
I did the B.Tech at a Govt Engg.College under Calicut Uni.and Masters at IITM. I could not find much difference in teaching method, subject knowledge, communicating ability, teaching skill etc between the average teachers Govt. college and at IIT ( Pl. do not compare standard of the present private Engg colleges/universities). The faculty (on an average) at IITs handled one subject or a maximum two leaving more time for research/consultancy. The faculty in Engg.colleges had to cover more students,teaching load, vast syllabus ( prescribed by the university)etc.

The teachers, many of them with a Phd background or atleast an M.Tech with good and long teaching expertise/experience, retire at the age of 55 in Kerala
( I do not know about other states). I wonder why the expertise of these teachers should not be utilized, instead of letting them settle with some private Engg colleges ( set up with commercial motivation). Similarly, we have a good pool of qualified and experienced experts in industries, institutions (like CSIR, ISRO, DRDOs etc).

One has to think differently to solve the problem instead of simply crying over it. The day also is not very far, if we Indians do not take effective corrective steps , when we will be looking good quality industrial, farming, manufacturing workers. Most of the present younger generations are encouraged to take up( directly/indirectly) low risk high salary BPO/IT/Management jobs where hand need not be dirty.

N.Achuthan

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