Scholars pursuing doctoral research at various institutions, which are not recognised as Centrally Funded Technical Institutes (CFTIs), have raised questions about the recent recruitments conducted at various National Institute of Technology (NITs). They have claimed equal opportunities were not given to all PhD candidates who had applied for various teaching positions.
A recent decision by NITs mandates that “all new entrants shall have PhD in the relevant or equivalent discipline and shall have first class in the preceding degrees. At least one of the qualifying degrees from a centrally funded Institution (CFTI)/Institute of repute (National/ International) is mandatory.”
The decision was taken by NITs in 2019 and approved by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). It makes it mandatory for all candidates applying for any teaching position to hold a doctoral degree from a CFTI-recognised institute. Presently, laboratories and research institutions under the Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), as well as in state-run and private universities, are not recognised under CFTI. As a result, over 5,000 scholars would never be eligible to apply for teaching positions at any of the NITs and Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), where this rule is applicable.
Terming the decision ‘institutional racism’, the PhD scholars, most of them from the 39 CSIR labs, have said, “This decision is clearly discriminatory in nature and shows its bias against candidates who hold degrees from non-CFTI institutions.”
The new rule came into effect after the term CFTI was coined during a meeting chaired by Professor Sivaji Chakravorti, director of the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, in 2019. However, the student community remained in the dark until their fellow students started getting screened out of the recruitment processes last year as they didn’t have a PhD from any of the CFTI institutions.
One such case involving a scholar emerged during a selection procedure for a faculty position at Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Institute of Technology in Surat recently. Similar cases were also reported during the recruitment process conducted at NIT Jalandhar, NIT Allahabad and NIT Warangal.
Demanding that the rule be withdrawn, the PhD scholars have stated that it was their talent that should be judged and not the institution that awards degrees. “Faculty recruitment should be conducted on the basis of comparative merit of individuals and their professional credentials, and not on the reputation of the institute,” they said.
The students have written a letter to the MHRD on Wednesday and have also taken up the matter with Shekhar Mande, director general of CSIR.
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