The country’s premier engineering colleges, the Indian Institutes Technology (IITs) are facing a severe faculty shortage across the 23 campuses. With the implementation of Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota, the intake in IITs has also gone up, leading to creating of more vacant posts for teachers.
According to data provided by the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry to Parliament, there are 3,709 faculty positions lying vacant against the sanctioned 9,718 posts. The case is worse at IIT Dhanbad, Kanpur and Kharagpur where as many as 477, 305 and 481 seats are lying vacant, respectively.
IITs have to maintain a student-teacher ratio of 1:10. With an increase in the number of students due to newly introduced Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota, the number of students is expected to rise further and hence more posts for teachers will be created.
“The IITs have implemented 4 per cent reservation for EWS quota and increased around 500 seats across campuses. The number will increase to 10 per cent, implying the IITs with 1000 seats will offer 1250 seats from this academic year,” said M Balakrishnan, deputy director, IIT-Delhi. This will require at least 25 new faculty posts per older IITs (which have 1000 or above seats).
Additionally, IITs have supernumerary seats — additional seats than total strength — dedicated to female students to increase diversity across campuses, which will further need new faculty members.
“The number of faculty in position has increased from 5,072 in 2016 to 6,009 in 2019,” Minister of HRD Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said in a written reply while answering a question in Parliament. “However, due to the steep increase in student intake, the faculty positions have also increased… At present 249 faculties are working in IITs on a contract basis,” the minister added.
Quality of applicants
The increase in seats and the need to maintain the teacher-student ratio are not the only reason behind the vacant faculty seats across the IITs. “There is a slight increase in the number of faculty positions with the new quota coming into play. The IITs have always faced issues while recruiting as due to the strong quality barriers here, several seats often go vacant. Despite the fact that hiring here is open around the year, we do not recruit just to fill seats,” said Balakrishnan.
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Rajiv Shekhar, director IIT-Dhanbad — the IIT with second-highest vacant posts (after IIT Kanpur) informed that the problem is also due to lack of merit of applicants. “While PhD is a pre-requisite for IITs, it is not amongst the best career options for students. Best IIT graduates do not opt to go for a PhD or teaching. This is a major concern for all IITs. The applications we receive do not match our quality standards. Roughly about 15 per cent of applicants are worth considering. There is a lack of human resource development amongst the applicants.”
On the process of selecting candidates, Shekhar said, “We consider marks obtained by the candidate right from class 12 onwards till PhD. We also consider the institute from where the applicant has pursued their undergraduate programme along with the number of publications by the candidates.”
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