Quotas for IIT faculty unlikely this year

August 8th, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

By Prashant K. Nanda
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Quotas in the selection of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) faculty are unlikely to be implemented this academic year as these premier tech-schools want the government to reconsider the controversial proposal. All the 13 IITs, including the six new ones, have requested the human resource development (HRD) ministry for a “second thought” about implementing quotas for marginalised sections of society in the faculties.

“Nothing is finalised as yet. It’s under review again,” IIT Delhi director Surendra Prasad told IANS. “Experts and the authorities are deliberating the situation in the ministry.”

The HRD ministry directed all the IITs in June to implement 27 percent quota for Other Backward Classes, 15 percent for Schedules Castes and 7.5 percent for Scheduled Castes in its faculty selection.

The decision came after the implementation of 27 percent quota in all central government aided higher educational institutes, albeit partially, this year.

Soon after the direction was passed on to the IITs, the premier engineering colleges expressed their displeasure by protesting in campuses.

At least three IITs, including IIT Delhi, had carried out candlelight marches to express their dissent over the government decision.

“We have lot of things to say but can we?” asked an IIT Delhi professor.

“It’s sad that government is not understanding the situation. In the IIT system, the best teachers should get a chance to mould students into leaders. There is no feeling of any social strata in the IITs,” the professor said requesting anonymity.

“The only consideration is talent and let’s not dilute it.”

An official of IIT Kharagpur said instead of implementing quota in faculty positions, the government must come forward to fill up the all ready vacant teaching posts.

The shortage is most acute at IIT Roorkee, which has a sanctioned strength of 575 faculties but at present it has little less than 350 faculty members.

Similarly, IIT Delhi and IIT Guwahati are facing a faculty shortage of up to 15 percent. The situation in other IITs is not much different either.

An IIT director told IANS that though all the IITs had asked the HRD ministry to reconsider the proposal, they were “almost helpless”.

“Let me be very frank. We are government institutes and cannot defy government order. If they (government) think that whatever they are doing is right, there is no way we can stop them. The only victim will be quality,” the director said adding: “Let’s watch.”

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