In a major setback to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) plan, the ministry for external affairs (MEA) has rejected a proposal to liberalise visa norms to allow foreign teachers to take up permanent posts at the IITs.
The MEA has refused to change the rules under which each foreign faculty member at the IITs needs to re-obtain a work visa every five years, top government and IIT sources have confirmed to HT.Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal had on September 11, 2010 announced the plan to allow the IITs to fill up to 10% of their permanent teaching posts with foreign faculty.
The proposal — first reported by HT on September 2, 2010 — was approved by the IIT Council — the highest decision making body of the IITs — and is aimed at reducing a massive faculty crunch plaguing the IITs.
But the MEA’s refusal to allow foreign faculty to join with visas of longer duration than five years means that the IITs will not be able to offer permanent posts to foreign faculty.
“We will need to continue to offer contractual appointments - something we wanted to, and quite frankly, need to change,” an IIT Director said.
Each IIT is facing a faculty crunch between 15 and 40% with a total of over 1,000 faculty posts vacant across the premier engineering schools.
The Institutes have over the past year however received a number of applications from foreign faculty, including Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) keen to teach at the IITs. The IITs are arguing that permanent posts would help them lure the best of foreign teachers.
All foreign teachers are at present required to teach as visiting or ad-hoc faculty.