A good number of the applications for faculty positions lately received by the Indian Institutes of Technology have come from Indians working or studying abroad.
“Many young Indians who went abroad for post doctoral studies have not been able to get permanent faculty positions because of the economic slowdown,” said MK Surappa, Director of IIT Ropar, Haryana, one of the eight new IITs set up in the past two years. “They are only too happy to come back to India and join a prestigious institution like ours.”
<b1>Half the candidates recently selected by IIT Ropar had been based abroad when they applied. So too were a third of those taken in at IIT Hyderabad, and a fourth of those who joined IIT, Bhubaneshwar. Nor were all applicants youngsters.
"Some of the CVs we got were from senior faculty members abroad, who had lost their jobs because of the downturn,” said Surappa.
Most of them will be paid much less than they once earned in the West.
“We won’t be able to match or exceed the salaries they used to get,” said UB Desai, director, IIT, Hyderabad. “But we can provide more research funding.”
Niloy Mitra, currently teaching at IIT Delhi’s department of computer science and engineering, post graduated from Stanford University in the United States, and got his Ph.D. from Vienna’s Technical University. But he has no regrets about having returned to India.
“The salary difference is huge between Indian teachers and those in the West,” he admitted. “But now it is possible to get research grants and the teaching load too is lighter than in the West.”
Most important, jobs are plentiful in Indian academia, unlike in the West.
The educational aspirations of the growing middle class, as well the need to accommodate the OBC quota over the next two years is leading to a rapid expansion of higher education in the country.
The IITs alone will need 3000 more teachers in the next five years.