Wednesday, September 18, 2013

IITs will take nearly 10 years to get to ideal teacher-student ratio

Facing a severe faculty crunch, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have projected that it will take the elite institutes close to a decade to get to the ideal teacher-student ratio. The government stipulates IITs must have a teacher-student ratio of 1:10, but at present, the ratio is an area of concern.

Of 6,522 sanctioned faculty positions nationwide, 2,618 are unfilled. Thus, across campuses, there is an approximately 40% shortage of teachers. While student intake has risen by 54% since 2006 in the wake of the 27% OBC quota and the expansion in the number of seats, the teacher-student ratio at campuses is around 1:15. It is the worst at IIT-Roorkee at 1:20 and the best at the newer institutes of IIT-Ropar and IIT-Mandi, where there is one teacher for every two students.

The all-India faculty strength is 3,904 at the moment. "Generally, the older IITs have been picking up about 35 to 40 new teachers annually," said an IIT director. "But student strength has risen rapidly because of the OBC expansion and also as PhD numbers went up. It isn't possible to take faculty numbers up so sharply so quickly. We are going to take five to 10 years to reach the ideal teacher-student ratio," he added.

IIT-Bombay Director Devang Khakhar said faculty quality had got better with time, with most recruits having an overseas PhD. Almost all those who are joining the old IITs have international teaching or working experience, he said.

IITs: We can't compromise on faculty quality
The elite IITs acknowledge a faculty crunch, but insist they will not dilute quality standards. "We cannot and do not want to compromise on the quality of teaching faculty just because we are facing staff shortage. We acknowledge that our existing teachers have been taking the extra burden, but we are constantly looking for good people," said IIT-Roorkee Director Pradipto Banerjee.

Also, the HRD ministry has agreed to create a new cadre of technical staff to man and maintain laboratories at the tech schools. For long, the faculty and the staff shouldered the responsibility of running the labs.

Source: The Economic Times (Online Edition), September 18, 2013

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