Thursday, August 20, 2009

IIT faculty go to war

The new pay structure has upset the IIT faculty so much that they are taking -- or considering -- serious protest action. Consider this PTI report from Chennai:

Aggrieved by differential pay scales and non-implementation of Sixth Central Pay Commission recommendations, the faculty of the IIT Madras will boycott classes indefinitely from tomorrow.

"We have decided to stop taking classes from tomorrow as our earlier protests of taking classes wearing black badges had not paid off," M Thenmozhi, President, IIT-M Faculty Association, told PTI here today.

From Kharagpur, The Scholars' Avenue has published a letter from the president of IIT-KGP Teachers Association (the first comment is pretty delicious, don't miss it! ;-):

The Faculty body of IIT Kharagpur, at their meeting on the 19th August, 2009, has decided to impress upon all the faculty-administrators to resign their posts. Rationale behind this decision is as follows:

MHRD has appointed Directors to run the IIT show. They need faculty support to run its affairs. 100% of the teachers of IITs are engaged in some or the other extra-teaching work. Only non-cooperation from Deputy Director, Deans, Heads of Departments, Chairmen, Professors-in -charge, Departmental in-charges resulting from their resignations can bring the Directors to the doorstep of MHRD. If the affairs go on as they are going without affecting the functioning of the institutes, then we stand no chance. Unless all the Directors express their inability to run the IITs under the prevailing circumstances, you can expect no reaction from the MHRD.

* * *

Update (9:00 am, 21 August): The faculty members at IIT-KGP are going on mass casual leave today. No classes.

This is the news from IIT-B:

IIT-B Faculty Forum president B Seth, too, sounded a warning on Thursday, saying the new salary structure was "absolutely unacceptable''. "Further course of action, like resignation from all administrative posts, will be decided in consultation with other IITs. That may impact the mentoring of new IITs and faculty participation in scientific honorary activities of various government bodies,'' Seth added.

Each IIT has planned protests on campus. IIT-Madras faculty held a protest meet on Thursday and IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Roorkee teachers would not take lectures on Friday, IIT-B Faculty Federation secretary Soumyo Mukherji said.


  1. Anonymous said...

    I wonder why there is no press release or any sign of displeasure from IISc about this issue!

  2. Rahul Basu said...

    It seems to me that IIT faculty have become obsessed with 'Twistian' syndrome of asking for more. (Oliver Twist had more reason to ask for more!) Nobody, nowhere must get more than them. They must always be at the top of the heap. Most of us in DAE research institutes accepted the 6PC recommendations way back in Sep last year and I haven't heard any whining and breast beating amongst the faculty in these institutes about being short-changed (leaving out TIFR who also always want more).

    Now I am told that IIT faculty will get 9000 less than their compatriots in similar positions in Universities. Apart from the fact that that is not the end of the world (are we always going to keep this caste system of IITs at the top, the universities kept somewhere near the bottom), having seen the official notification I just don't see how this is possible. I would be grateful if someone could explain this. I suspect there has been some innovative jugglery with the salaries and grades to come up with this claim of 9000. I am of course open to being corrected. But this perpetual cribbing and whining to get more than all the rest of us is really getting on my nerves.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Well in a way it is good that the arts and science college faculty get more coz then they can attract "good" teaching faculty from the "good" instis. Now since the premier instis are considered premier for their research let the monetary parity (with univs) be achieved by clubbing it with some kind of research output. This way the good faculty who are interested only in teaching and money can go to univs (good for the colleges students) and those who are primarily hired and interested in research get money based on their research credentials/output/ability to attarct grants/graduate students etc. Though such a differential pay prob. puts xtra burden on research faculty as opposed to teaching-only faculty it is better that instis do some soul searching and declare themselves whether they are teaching schools or research schools and the perks/incentives are for which category. The present controversy is coz of across the board, uniform hikes without them being tied to specific aspects of assessments.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Dear Dr. Basu,
    1.You say "Most of us in DAE research institutes accepted the 6PC recommendations way back..". Isn't it YOUR problem not asking for what you deserve?
    2.“we always going to keep this caste system of IITs at the top”: I think you should look from the other side, please also see how IIT faculty are recruited, is it from writing an exam and being appointed?
    3. Finally, what IITians are asking not exactly “more”, but what they actually deserve. Obviously they compare the salaries with that of salaries from where they came and joined in IITs ( premier institutes of abroad, industries ).

  5. Rahul Basu said...

    Anonymous: Just to clarify -- first of all we don't take any 'exam' to get into DAE institutes (I am talking of faculty, not students) evaluation is done based on research output at entry (I presume, though I cannot be sure, that the same is true of IIT recruitment).

    Secondly I have no objection to IIT faculty getting better pay - in fact all academicians should be better paid. I do not even object, if it comes to that, if IIT faculty are better paid than DAE institute faculty. After all they do more teaching and are also expected to do research so there is more pressure on their time. The point of my comment, to repeat myself, is that the IIT faculty want a full fledged caste system in salaries - they must always be the highest paid, everyone must come below them. By this all NITs and Univs (let alone the DAE institutes) are forever condemned to the lower rungs of this caste system with no possibility of ever attracting anyone who would rather go to the IIT system which have better prospects. They are condemned to second class status in perpetuity. Considering that the universities cater to the bulk of the student population in the country and the IITs cater to a minuscule minority, it is only fair that universities and their faculty should be given a level playing field to attract the same good faculty that the IITs attract.

    Finally I think all this hyperbole about the beginning of the destruction of the IITs (mainly because some IIT faculty may get a few thousand rupees less than their peers elsewhere, a fact, that I already indicated above is obtained with a little bit of jugglery by comparing different levels) and so on that we are hearing from all the faculty associations in really just over the top.

  6. Anonymous said...

    @Rahul Basu: There is no jugglery. Just have a look at the fitment table. 9 increments at asst prof level have been compressed for IIT and thats not the case for UGC. If you can't read tables thats your problem. If IIT faculty want what they deserve as their salary whats your problem? We all know the work load of a DAE institute vs an IIT where 27% OBC reservation, mentoring other IITs and 25% vacancies in faculty strength matter.

  7. Anonymous said...

    I am a bit of an outsider to all of this but it seems to me that instead of of a pay based on IIT or DAE etc why not based on research output and teaching load and a job done well ? Maybe I cannot read a table but it did seem to me that increments are guaranteed without any relation to output ? Some of my IIT professors were some of the worst teachers with little research output and I am sure if you asked them they had many valid excuses for that.

    I have had very few people in India actually express happiness with their pay, maybe it has some social reason. I hope that 10 years from now we could say that all this money in academia actually made a difference in research output and made a richer middle class instead of just the latter.