With the proposed IIM bill expected to be presented to the cabinet for a decision soon, IIMs are anticipating introduction of quotas for faculty recruitment, though a final decision in the matter is yet to be taken.
The IIM bill seeks to allow these Institutes of National Importance to grant degrees instead of diplomas. However, it has been learnt that many IIM chiefs are not in favour of the provision of quota in faculty hiring in the bill. They feel it will lower the quality of education in these institutes. Filling up the reserved seats will also be tough, they say.
An IIM director who does not wish to be named, says, “We will have to encourage more people to do PhD, so that we get more people on the supply side. I don’t think that the government will force IIMs to compromise on quality of faculty we recruit, even through reservation quota. We are speculating that though quota reservations might be introduced, it might not be mandated, which means if we don’t find suitable faculty, we can go ahead and fill those seats with regular faculty members.”
However, directors say, as of now, these institutes don’t have any data on total number of fellows from the reserved category who have completed PhD in the past five years. Some feel that filling up faculty positions, already a tough task, will get tougher if faculty reservations are in place. “If we don’t compromise on quality on a certain level, it will be difficult to fill the reserved category,” another director says, requesting anonymity.
However, Anindya Sen, director, IIM Ranchi, has a solution, if faculty quota is introduced. “If you want to apply a reservation category for the teaching positions, go step by step. Initially, we can have 10% to 20 % reservation. Then slowly, if people start coming into the system from reserved category, then we can raise the percentage further. Trying to implement it in one go can create severe problems as we are already finding it difficult to get qualified faculty. We should not compromise on the quality of faculty.”
Allowing reservations when someone is at the beginning of his or her career is okay. “Thereafter, it should be purely on the basis of economic conditions. Will you get operated by a surgeon who is coming into the system through quota? Is there any quota for pilots? It is a matter of pure merit,” an IIM director says.
Some other IIM chiefs say that they might have to take cues from the IITs, which have already been hiring faculty for the reserved categories, that is, scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and other backward classes.
According to an IIT source, “IITs have fixed criteria for recruitment of faculty and both general and reserved categories have to meet them. However, most reserved seats cannot be filled up due to lack of proper reserved candidates. This is one clear explanation of why so many faculty seats are vacant at IITs.”