Friday, May 19, 2006

Faculty crunch at IIMs, IITs

The shortage is most acute in IIT Roorkee, which has a sanctioned strength of 575 faculty, though only 345 faculty members are in position.

IIT Delhi faces a 28% shortage: of the sanctioned strength of 583, only 418 are in position. IIT Guwahati has the best figures and faces a shortage of only five faculty members.

From this report. This takes on an urgency because the government is mulling the possibility of increasing the intake this year by almost 50%, so as to 'protect' the number of general quota seats from being eroded by reservation.

At the IIMs, the faculty shortage is pegged at about 8%. The inability of IITs to attract quality faculty is something that I understand (I think ...); the salary, start-up grants, lab facilities, teaching load (particularly for junior faculty) are some of the deterrents, which make prospective candidates think of other places which treat them better on these parameters (except, of course, the salary, which is fixed by the government).

Since I am not familiar with the IIMs, I am not able to comment on the shortage there. However, I understand that consulting is encouraged in IIMs, and consulting and EDPs (Executive Development Programs) can be quite lucrative. A recent report in the Economic Times covered this aspect of being on the IIM faculty:

[...] Under the Fifth Pay Commission, the entry-level salary of an assistant professor at IIM-A is Rs 12,000 a month while the maximum salary of a professor is Rs 22,400 per month.

But one area where the faculty end up making Rs 23 lakh per annum alone is consulting with private or government firms. This includes consulting done under two slabs. First, the faculty can do consulting worth Rs 6 lakh which they do not have to share with the institute, and is called ‘free allowance’ . Once the Rs 6-lakh mark is reached, the faculty is allowed an additional 52 hours of consulting a year — at Rs 75,000 an hour — 50 per cent of which is shared with the institute.

BTW, isn't there an error (and possibly two) in the last sentence?


  1. Anonymous said...

    There is a typo, the first reference links to your own blog.

    The government should allow professors to take consulting assignments. It should be up to the individual institutes to decide on the guidelines, if at all, for instance it should not impact the professor's teaching commitments.

    What's your take on the critical shortage of faculty vis-a-vis the quota situation?

  2. Abi said...

    Barbarindian: Thanks for pointing out the error in linking. The URL is now in place.

    To my knowledge, IITs are not constrained by quotas in faculty appointment; trust me, if they were, the press would have gone to town with it. Thus, there is nothing to comment about.

  3. Anonymous said...

    right now, the salaries paid to IIT/IIM/IISc faculty is pittance vis-a-vis the qualifications required and expectations. caree growth options are also not great. Private sector salaries are far better. Therefore, attracting good quality faculty is a difficult task.

    Unlike in IIMs, consulting money is not great for IIT/IISc faculty. Several reasons for this. Indian industry is yet to understand/appreciate research inputs. Even if they do, they want to get it cheap. Besides, you have to generate a lot of consulting money before you see a substantial sum. For example, at IISc, for every Rs. 100 you generate, one gets less than Rs. 40 in the end. Consulting also erodes the time one has for research and teaching.Given that peer recognition is almost purely on the basis of one's research output (namely papers), "good" faculty tend to focus on it.

    In summary, it will be difficult for IITs to attract good quality faculty unless they increase the salaries. Perhaps they can think in terms of a "soft" component to the salary. Otherwise, they will atrract only monkeys if they only pay peanuts!

  4. Anonymous said...

    Hi Abi,

    In a recent survey conducted by our faculty association on what can attract new faculty, salary did top the list. Considering that these are central government jobs, asking for a special treatment of payscale may need major revision in pay commission recommendations. Apparently these pay scales are, in some way, tied to the scales of certain IAS cadre posts (Jt. Secretaries etc.,) as well as to those in other government organisations of similar kind. Take a look at this very long discussion in The Hindu about payscales.

    I feel the larger the gap between the salaries of faculty in IITs/IISc/IIMs (elite) and other colleges (non-elite), more difficult will it be for those returning to India to take up positions in non-elite places and raise the standards. Aren't there already many out there who say "If I cant get into these elite institutes, I wouldn't even want to return"?

    As long as there is no financial independence from the Government, I dont think there can be "pay as per demand" in the elite institutes. Till then, those who value academics and are keen on living in India will have to live with the asceticism.

    We seem to forget that ours is a society that respects a Guru in poverty. The Guru dakshina (alumni donations to corpus) is the only alleviation.