Faced with shortage of faculty in universities and higher technical educational institutions, the government has set up a high-level task force to study the problem and suggest a way out.

The task force is headed by IIT Kanpur Director Prof S. K. Dhande. Its other members are IIM Lucknow Director Prof Devi Singh, Prof Chiranjiv Sen from IIM Bangalore, Prof V. Kannan, Pro VC, University of Hyderabad, Prof K. K. Agarwal, former VC Indraprastha University and R. K. Chavan, Secretary UGC, HRD Ministry sources said.

The task force is expected to submit its report before February. It was set up by the HRD Ministry with the mandate that it will advise and make appropriate recommendations for alleviation of shortage of quality faculty.

The task force will also design a robust objective and transparent performance appraisal system for the faculty in such institutions.

It will also assess the existing faculty shortage in the country with regard to technical, professional and University education. It will study the requirement of the faculty in these institutions for the remaining period of the 11th plan.

There are about 40 central universities and nearly 100 Central Technical Educational Institutions including IITs, IIMs and NITs.

The government’s decision assumes significance in view of large scale vacancies in these institutions.

According to the report of UGC pay review committee, there are about 30-40 per cent vacancies of faculty in the Central Universities. The percentage of vacancies is about 50 per cent in certain universities.

The picture is no different in the seven IITs where the present faculty position stands at 2,983 against the sanctioned strength of 4,267. Similarly, there are 388 faculty in the IIMs against the sanctioned strength of 468.

In Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, the vacancy is more than 50 per cent. There are only 210 faculty in the institute having the sanctioned strength for 478.

In the 20 NITs there are about 1,140 vacant faculty.

The task force had its first meeting last month where it decided to consult academicians and other stakeholders across the country to assess the shortage. The task force will also suggest remedial policies and measures to meet the shortfall of quality faculty.

It will design and develop a robust, objective and transparent performance appraisal system for the faculty throughout the country.