Saturday, April 23, 2011

Qualified faculty eludes engineering colleges

Engineering colleges in the country, especially those in the minor league, may be popping up like mushrooms and even churning out graduates by the thousands, but when it comes to faculty quality, most colleges are forced to make do with relative freshers who do not even hold a Ph.D. degree.

Consider this: Since 2008, the number of engineering colleges in the country has almost doubled from 1,668 to 3,241, and along with it the shortage of Ph.D.-holders has also gone up from 54,839 in 2008-09 to 72,524 in 2010-11, according to figures from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

This shortage is being felt acutely by these new colleges, which have difficulty attracting experienced staff. For instance, the Dehradun Institute of Technology (DIT) and Delhi Technological University (previously the Delhi College of Engineering) both have 200 faculty members, but while over 50% of DTU staff hold Ph.D.s, being among the top ten tech colleges in India, DIT has only 25% Ph.D.s.

DIT Director Krishna Kumar pleads helplessness. "It is difficult to attract experienced teachers given the numerous opportunities they have these days. So we are forced to opt for less experienced and qualified teachers. Currently we have just 20-30% senior teachers," he says. And when it comes to top colleges, they are not ready to compromise on qualifications. "We do not hire plain B.Tech. graduates and the minimum qualification required is M.Tech. or its equivalent," says a DTU official.

Interestingly, there is a shortfall of faculty holding M.Tech. degrees too. The number of M.Tech.s required in engineering colleges has significantly increased from 90,000 in 2008 to approximately 120,000 in 2010. Because of this, regulator AICTE allows B.Tech.s also to teach, but on the condition that they complete their M.Tech. within three years.

"The average age of teachers with a B.Tech. is around 22 years and with a Ph.D. is 27 years. Why would a Ph.D.-holder go to a smaller town to teach when he is in demand in a metro city?" reasons an AICTE official. Agrees Amit Bansal, CEO at PurpleLeap, an Educomp and Pearson joint venture, "There is a marked difference in the experience of faculty of top-rung colleges and the rest. While the average faculty experience in top colleges is between 10 and 15 years, the average faculty experience in other colleges is 0-5 years."

Source: The Financial Express, April 23, 2011

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