New Delhi: A Parliamentary committee has expressed "anguish" over shortage of faculty in higher education institutions, including Central Universities, IITs and IIMs, terming it as the "biggest handicap" in developing and maintaining the standard of education in the country.
Observing that the situation continues to be "grim" with no improvement appearing imminent, the panel has suggested beginning the hiring process before a post falls vacant. In order to make teaching more attractive, it has also suggested that the faculty should be encouraged to undertake consultancy.
In a report tabled earlier this week, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education headed by BJP lawmaker Satyanarayan Jatiya, voiced concern over "acute" shortage of faculty in higher education institutions across the country.
The panel said it was informed that the total number of sanctioned teaching posts in Central Universities is 16,600 out of which 2,376 are for the position of Professors, 4,708 Associate Professors and 9,521 Assistant Professors.
Of the positions lying vacant 1,277 are for the post of Professor, 2173 Associate Professor and 2,478 Assistant Professor.
In the IITs, the committee said in its report, the minimum qualification for a faculty member is PhD and there is a shortage of such candidates. It noted that institutes were engaging faculty on contract basis to tide over the shortage.
"The committee is anguished to find out that right from well established Central Universities to those set up recently, State Universities as well as private universities, premier institutions like IITs, NITs and IIMs, this problem has emerged as the biggest handicap for the development and growth of Higher Education vis-a-vis maintaining the quality of education," the panel said.
It further observed that the situation continues to be "grim" with no improvement foreseen in the near future. Either our young students are not attracted towards the teaching profession or the recruitment process is a prolonged one with too many procedural formalities, the panel said.
Asking the Department of Higher Education in the education ministry to assume a proactive role, the panel suggested that the recruitment process should start well in advance before a post is vacated.
It also advised the ministry to work in tandem with the institutes to "have this exercise on yearly basis and recruitment must be done in advance so that shortage does not develop into crisis."
The panel also said to make the teaching profession more attractive, "the faculty should be encouraged to undertake consultancy and given start-up financial support."