Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Facing staff crunch, IITs propose hiring foreign faculty

Facing shortage of teaching staff in the wake of capacity augmentation, the premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have proposed to appoint foreign nationals to its faculty positions. The move, if accepted, could enable the prestigious institutes to appoint foreign teachers on permanent positions which could be up to 10 per cent of the faculty strength, said IIT officials. The proposal is expected to be deliberated at the next IIT council meeting here on Friday.

IITs have contended that the presence of foreign faculty on IIT campuses will benefit graduating students in the globalised world, besides lending a true international flavour in the campuses and reducing brain drain. Appointment of foreign faculty could also give a boost to IITs' plan to enrol foreign students for the post-graduate programme. IITs have already requested the HRD Ministry to enrol foreign students to the extent of 25 per cent of the total student strength.
"IITs are now being increasingly recognised internationally as attractive destination for students. This perceived superiority needs to be leveraged to the fullest extent as expeditiously as possibly", the officials said. They said that U.S. varsities have benefited by attracting faculty from across the globe and India cannot afford to lose the chance to attract the best talent in teaching and research.

The HRD Ministry had recently permitted IITs to hire Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) as permanent faculty after an initial vetting process. The IIT council meeting could also finalise plans to set up 'centre of studies' devoted to a foreign country with a view to develop expertise on countries of strategic importance. Each IIT, the officials said, could concentrate on a particular country. As in the U.S., such centres will be available for advising the Government especially in terms of strategic negotiations.

The recommendations of the Prof. Acharya Committee on streamlining and rationalising JEE examinations and the prospects of a two-tier examination process will also be discussed at the meeting.

Source: The Economic Times, September 8, 2010

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