Self-financing colleges in Tamil Nadu are showing the door to hundreds of faculty members.

With the mindset of students inclined towards core engineering subjects ahead of the counselling, the self-financing colleges are not just surrendering thousands of seats in Information Technology (IT) and Computer Science courses but also sending home hundreds of faculty members.

A few prominent colleges in the city and its suburbs alone have retrenched over 100 faculty members teaching IT and Computer Science, the two preferred courses and almost a rage a decade ago.

Officials of Anna University, to which the institutions are affiliated, say they are aware of the retrenchment move.

“It has become a routine for colleges to downsize some departments that have lost favour with students,” a professor said.

The craze for IT and computer science among students fuelled an increase in student intake and some colleges had as many as 240 students in each of these subjects in all the four years. Since the University stipulates that a student teacher ratio of four teachers to 60 students, colleges had appointed as many as 40 to 50 teachers, professors say. 

Every time a subject becomes popular, there is more demand for it among students and new faculty are recruited. When subjects lose favour, the teachers are sent home, academics say.

Poised for growth

While the colleges insist the interest in IT and Compute Science is waning, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), denies a fall in recruitment of candidates for IT sector.

“IT and IT enabled service companies continue to recruit around two lakh candidates from colleges in the last several years despite global meltdown,” says K. Purushothaman, regional director, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. 

The industry that was growing at 30 per cent is is now growing at 15 per cent. “In a few years, it will reach a growth of 24 per cent,” he emphasises. 

“Instead of looking at short term gain, parents should understand the dynamics of business and help their children choose courses carefully,” Mr. Purushothaman avers.

Welcoming the trend towards core engineering subjects, E. Balagurusamy, a former vice chancellor of Anna University, says, “India needs engineers, not technical coolies. With arts and science colleges also offering IT and Computer Science courses, companies have broad based their recruitment to include all engineering disciplines and even arts and science graduates. There are enough programmers now. Also, these companies are not developing software.”

“That teachers in private engineering colleges are recruited on a consolidated pay and treated shabbily is all together another issue,” he says.

The issue of ill treatment of teachers in institutions of higher learning was raised at a meeting organised by the Association of University Teachers (AUT) on Sunday. “Even in aided institutions, teachers are not treated well,” says C. Pichaandy, vice president, AUT.