Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sabil on Tuesday took a firm stand against the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) faculty protesting the government-proposed pay and autonomy, and made it clear that government-funded institutes would be regulated and eligibility conditions would be imposed.
"Systems, universities, especially when they are funded 100 per cent, have to be regulated. It is not possible to say there will be no regulation as we are accountable to parliament and the people of India. We have to impose eligibility conditions," Sibal told reporters in New Delhi.
On Monday, over 1,300 teachers of IITs decided to go on hunger strike Thursday to protest the government's apathy towards their demand for a higher pay package.
Signalling his disapproval of their move, Sibal stressed that "the faculty behavior doesn't meet IIT standards".
The protesting staff has two major contentions - the pay package of assistant and associate professors and a cap on the number of professors who can be promoted to the next level.
Regarding the latter, Sibal said: "... At any university take MIT, Harvard or Stanford, it takes several years, sometimes 10 to 20 years, to take tenure. All that we are asking is that the state PhD with no teaching experience should not be immediately absorbed into the system. If he has had 2 years teaching experience, then he can have a one-year contract and then we can absorb him. If no experience, then it'll take him three years to be absorbed."
He said that the "tenure is not a matter of pride" and that after the contract period ended, the institutes could use their discretion to absorb the professors. "We won't interfere in that process."
The minister concluded by saying: "We are promoting excellence... I am sure the faculty of IITs don't want to dilute excellence and we are the ones that want to promote it."