IITs gear up to fill reserved seats in faculties

Figures show that less than 3 per cent faculties in India’s top engineering institutions are from SC/ST categories.
IIT Delhi
IIT Delhi

NEW DELHI:  Pulled up by the Centre for not ensuring enough representation of reserved categories in the faculties, many of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) have begun the process of hiring under the quota through a special recruitment drive.

Figures show that less than 3% faculties in India’s top engineering institutions are from SC/ST categories. As per information available, of the 6,043 faculty members at the 23 IITs, 149 are from the SC and 21 from ST, which means around 2.8% of the faculty members come from reserved categories. Some of the institutions, shockingly, had no representation of ST category candidates. 

The Centre mandates a reservation of 27% in faculty positions for candidates from OBC categories, 15% from SC and 7.5% from ST communities. The IITs, apart from some other set of autonomous institutions such as IIMs, have traditionally been resisting, arguing that such appointments mar the quality of teaching. 

However, now urged by the Union education ministry, at least four IITs — Bombay, Kharagpur, Ropar and BHU — have published advertisements inviting applications from the reserved category candidates under a special recruitment drive. Applications have been invited for posts in assistant, associate and professor levels in various departments. The  IITs are looking for candidates with PhD with first-class in the preceding degree in the appropriate branch along with a sound academic record. 

For assistant professors, a minimum of three years of experience in teaching, research or industry is preferred. Until 2019, reservations were only applicable for recruitment of assistant professors, which is the entry level. But norms were changed that year, officials in the ministry’s higher education department said.

“However, as IITs do not have promotions and each position is filled as a fresh recruitment, this means assistant professors at an institute have to apply for recruitment as an associate professor and compete with other candidates,” pointed out a source. “This also results in disadvantage to reserved category candidates.”

Last year, a Parliamentary panel had criticised the poor representation of reserved quota candidates in Centrally Funded Technical Institutes. In August, a letter to these institutes said all vacancies in reserved categories should be filled by September next year. 

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