After IIMs, now IITs begin work for quota-based faculty hiring

Topics IIT | IIM | Reservation

After the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), it is now the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) that have begun quota-based faculty hiring by placing advertisements. Faculty hiring, which used to be under the autonomy of premier institutes, has seen a shift since 2019 when the Ministry of Education (the then MHRD) pushed for reservations in faculty positions at centrally funded higher education institutions (HEIs). As a result, HEIs, including IITs, have now begun advertising for faculty positions to be filled by SC/ST/OBC/EWS candidates. The move comes in the wake of the Min.....
After the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), it is now the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) that have begun quota-based faculty hiring by placing advertisements. Faculty hiring, which used to be under the autonomy of premier institutes, has seen a shift since 2019 when the Ministry of Education (the then MHRD) pushed for reservations in faculty positions at centrally funded higher education institutions (HEIs).

As a result, HEIs, including IITs, have now begun advertising for faculty positions to be filled by SC/ST/OBC/EWS candidates.

The move comes in the wake of the Ministry of Education setting a deadline of September 4, 2022 for filling vacancies in the SC, ST and OBC categories by adhering to the reservation rules.

Apart from advertisements, IITs have also been communicating with institutes churning out doctoral graduates to tap potential candidates.

"We are trying to get as many applications as we can. We try to be as sensitive as possible during recruitments in order to hire faculty, especially from reserved categories, but certain things are beyond our control. For instance, good BTech and MTech graduates, even from reserved categories, go on to join either the private or public sector for jobs to start earning early and not many end up pursuing PhDs," said Sudhir Jain, director of IIT Gandhinagar.

Given that HEIs in India have historically struggled to maintain a healthy faculty:student ratio with the classroom population ballooning in recent years due to quota implementation in admissions, the deadline has made it even more difficult for institutions to meet the reservation targets.

Apparently, Section 3 of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 already asserts reservation in central institutes including IITs and IIMs. Recently, a petition was filed in the Gujarat High Court seeking SC/ST/OBC quota implementation in doctoral (PhD) program at IIM Ahmedabad, similar to what has been implemented by other IIMs. The court has issued notice to the premier B-school over the same.

Although, unlike IITs, IIMs had begun hiring candidates from the reserved categories like SC, ST, OBC and EWS quite earlier, the deadline would be difficult for them to meet as well.

For instance, since March 2019, IIM Bangalore has hired 13 new faculty, of which four are from SC/ST categories, five women, three general category male faculty and one faculty with foreign passport. The premier B-school plans to hire 10 more faculty in 2021-22 even as it looks to fulfill the quota requirements.

However, the available pool of eligible candidates from reserved categories such as Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) armed with PhDs for faculty positions is low in the country. As a result, for CEIs, especially IIMs and IITs, to meet the faculty quota requirements under the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre Act) passed in 2019, there not only needs to be more PhD candidates from reserved categories available in the country but also fresh candidates pursuing PhDs.

Of the total 23 IITs, data available for 11 IITs shows faculty strength varying from over 680 to as low as 90, totaling to nearly 3500. While older CEIs including IITs and IIMs have a higher faculty strength, that for the newer ones is lower on account of lower campus strength.

Meanwhile, with PhD being a minimum requirement for being considered for appointment as a faculty member at a CEIs, some institutes are tackling the issue at the root.

In a bid to address this challenge, IIM Bangalore has launched NS Ramaswamy (NSR) pre-doctoral programme in 2018. Under the pre-doc programme, the premier B-school hopes to enhance the currently small pool of faculty available for hiring in reserve categories by giving them a one-year fellowship to be at IIM Bangalore and mentoring and coaching them to build their aspirations to do a PhD.

"We are now trying to alleviate this problem by whetting their appetite for pursuing PhD. The NSR pre-doc program we created is designed to do that," IIM Bangalore director Rishikesha T Krishnan had told Business Standard earlier.


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