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IITs rope in alumni to tackle crises

The IIT heads stress the need for the alumni's greater involvement and participation by serving as adjunct faculty, reports Snehal Rebello.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2006 23:08 IST

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are worried about the drastic shortage of good quality faculty and lack of infrastructure in the backdrop of the recent expansion in seats.

The problem was voiced out loud and clears on the first day of the PanIIT 2006 Global Conference at Bandra-Kurla Complex on Saturday.

"Along with an increase in the students' intake, we will have to scale up faculty numbers as well," said Surendra Prasad, director, IIT Delhi.

"It means recruiting 1,200-1,500 additional faculty members in the next three years. This translates into recruiting 70 faculty members each year in each IIT."

Addressing IIT alumni from across the globe, the IIT directors stressed the need for the alumni's greater involvement and participation by serving as adjunct faculty in the institutes, sponsoring projects and identifying potential faculty by networking and motivating them to join. Apart from raising funds for research parks, the alumni were also asked to serve as supporters for incubation.

Citing lack of research work as another problem, the directors urged the alumni to invest in this field as well.

"Pan-IIT along with alumni, industry and IITs can organise conclaves for investments in research to develop long-term research strategies," said Sanjay Govind Dhande, director of IIT-Kanpur, adding that research should be incorporated in undergraduate courses as well.

"Faculty profiles will have to be changed along with introducing performance evaluations. We need to carry out research that will be transformed into innovation under Intellectual Property Rights," said Ashok Misra, director, IIT-Bombay.

Most directors said lack of good emoluments is one of the reasons for the "massive reduction in young people opting for academics as a career".

Prasad agreed: "The huge difference in salary packages drives them to choose an investment banking job as against academics. For this reason, brand building of academic alumni is required to showcase that life as an academician is also great."

Less innovation and more analysis in the current curriculum was another major concern. "Classes will soon become bigger. Hence, distance education will have to be explored and technology-based teaching systems will have to be strengthened," said Dhande.

The only solution, according to scientist MGK Menon, was the need for a joint group of Pan-IITians along with IIT directors to sit down together and facilitate faculty.

"Without faculty, we cannot have an IIT of excellence. So to ensure that the highest quality faculty come to IIT, we will have to begin identifying and persuading the best alumni from across the globe to join us," he said.

First Published: Dec 23, 2006 22:18 IST