In an ET column M.A. Pai shares his views on the problems faced by the IIT system, and on the way forward:
It is well known from the U R Rao committee report, which unfortunately is still not widely known to the public, that there is a tremendous shortage of PhDs in engineering to man the existing engineering institutions. There are more than 1,000 of them in both the public and the private sector. All the seven IITs have PhDs in their faculty in the ranks of Asst Professor and above.
The extension of the retirement age in IITs seems to have come at the right time to relieve the teaching load crunch. Starting a new IIT, from acquiring land to having a full fledged teaching and research institution, however, takes anywhere from 4-6 years. Additionally, recruiting faculty with PhDs in adequate numbers will be a challenging problem in itself. The production of PhDs in engineering in the country is about 900 per year in all disciplines with perhaps the lowest in Computer Science, a scant 50.