August 12, 2008

IITians Graduate With a Worry: Faculty Shortage

By Neha Pushkarna

NEW DELHI: The 1415 students passing out of IIT Delhi on Saturday had gratitude for their alma mater as well as concern for its changing standards. Fresh graduates chose to look back at the years they spent at IITD and admitted that the only problem they faced while studying there was acute faculty shortage.

Many students, who received their degrees on Saturday, said that they remembered often studying in a class of 80 students with just one teacher. Now with OBC quota being implemented and 110 IIT Punjab students being mentored in Delhi from this year, the problem of faculty shortage demands an urgent solution, felt students.

"IIT has the best facilities and the quality of teachers is unmatched. But the issue here is that they have always been too less. For how long can a single teacher keep taking a class of 80 students?" said Avinash Bhardwaj, who studied mechanical engineering in IITD and has been placed in a company in Bangalore. He added that the standard of students had also come down in the past couple of years, especially after JEE was turned into a one-step exam. "The highest cumulative grade point (on a scale of 10) in our batch was 9.5. But it came down to 8.2 in the later batches. Even the number of recommendations to the student review committee has increased over the years," said Bhardwaj.

In fact, the faculty shortage also seems to have affected the placement scenario on campus. Said Rituparna Biswas, who was awarded a Master's degree in design, "There was just one teacher to look after our placements. If we had more teachers, more companies could be brought in for campus recruitments. But we lost out probably because of faculty shortage." IITD has a student-teacher ratio of 9:1. There are 448 teachers as of now against a sanctioned faculty strength of 506 which has come down from 556. It is now expected to be made 776 by 2013. According to IIT sources, 27 new faculty members have been recruited so far this year but the faculty shortage has been a perennial problem in the IITs.

"The quality set for IIT teachers is so difficult to get that the number of teachers always falls short. If any post falls vacant, IIT has to advertise globally for it. There is no internal promotion either. So all this does let IITs fill all its seats. But the number of teachers required now will go up drastically. So more teachers will be recruited this year," said an IIT student.

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