India's Top Engineering Schools to Use Faculty Quotas for Lower Classes

June 28, 2008

New Delhi — Having won the battle to increase student quotas at India’s public universities, the government has now ordered the elite Indian Institutes of Technology to introduce faculty quotas for members of the so-called lower castes and classes, The Times of India reported today.

The order states that nearly half of all faculty positions at the public institutes should be reserved for members of those classes, effective immediately.

Even without quotas, the seven institutes already face faculty shortages of 20 percent to 30 percent, a problem likely to be exacerbated when six more institutes open this year. The order states that the institutes may open faculty posts to members of non-quota groups if the positions cannot be filled within a year.

The newspaper reported that the institutes’ leaders are annoyed by the order, although none was willing to be quoted by name. They feel that the high quality of the institutes’ faculties will be compromised by the new policy.

“Some of the finest people have given up top positions and fat cheques that were offered to them in other parts of the world to come and teach in the IITs, despite the low pay scale that the government offers,” one institute head said. “With reservation in faculty positions, I see a day, not far from now, when the IITs will crumble.”

Another institute chief said there had been no bias against hiring faculty members from disadvantaged classes if they were found meritorious. —Shailaja Neelakantan