In 2008, the Union Ministry for Human Resource and Development announced eight new IITs under the Institutes of Technology Act (amended), 2011. In July 2014, the Centre announced five new IITs in Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chattisgarh and Goa. In the Union budget presented on Saturday, one new IIT has been proposed for Karnataka, and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, has been proposed for conversion to an IIT.
“The Union government should stop announcing new IITs. With existing IITs facing acute shortage of faculty, finding quality teachers for the new institutions will be hard,” said D P Kothari, former director of IIT-Delhi.
Kothari said stringent rules for promotion and lack of incentives stop many from applying for the positions. “Publishing research papers, writing books, managing academia and other related activities are the standards for a good faculty. But, the rules for promotion in IITs and NITs are so stringent that most teachers change jobs,” said Kothari. “Fearing the rules, most freshers do not apply.”
Bhaskar Ramammurthi, director of IIT-Madras, said the expansion of established IITs in 2008-10 led to faculty shortage. “The established IITs expanded at almost 50% of their strength. Thus, we fell short of faculty,” Ramamurthi said, “But, all IITs have been recruiting faculty every year, and nearly 30 new faculty join each institution. If an average of 10 faculty retire, we still get 20 new teachers.” He indicated that it might take another five years for all IITs to meet the student-faculty ratio guideline.
According to J P Gandhi, an educational consultant, only around 30% of the PhD students from IITs and NITs join an IIT or an NIT as faculty. “Most prefer a job in the research wing of a corporate or pursue postdoctoral studies abroad. When it comes to academia, private deemed universities seem to offer former IIT students better pay,” he said, adding that some universities in Noida offer Rs2.5lakh a month to former IIT professors.
At IIMs too, the lack of enough PhD holders to take up faculty positions is the reason for the shortage. J Philip, president and director of Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship and former director of IIM-Bangalore, said, “There is a shortage in the number of management graduates pursuing doctorates on one the hand, and on the other, almost half of those who pursue PhD prefer a career outside the academic system.” He said, “We have been asking All India Council for Technical Education to allow the top 50 B-schools to have their own fellow programme which will help produce nearly 500 PhD candidates every year.”
Too few to teach
Average faculty shortage across national institutes
IIT – 32%
IIIT – 31%
NIT – 25%
Source: The Times of India