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Scrap quotas for faculty recruitment in IITs: MoE panel

The report said that the expectations on the faculty from IITs were very high due to the quality and standards of education.   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

A committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Education (MoE) to suggest measures for effective implementation of reservation policies in IITs has recommended that these institutions be exempted from following reservation policies in faculty recruitment.

The committee based its recommendations primarily on arguments claiming the need for IITs to maintain their academic excellence and the lack of candidates from the reserved categories who fulfil the qualification criteria.

In its report, obtained by an activist through an Right to Information Act application, the committee has suggested that IITs be included in the list of Institutes of Excellence that are exempted from reservation policies under the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act (CEI Act) of 2019.

Currently, eight institutions including the Homi Bhabha National Institute and its constituent units, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Space Physics Laboratory and Indian Institute of Remote Sensing are part of this exempted list.

“Being established and recognised as institutions of national importance under an Act of Parliament, IITs have ought to be listed under the Schedule to the above CEI Act, 2019 for exemption from reservations,” the report said.

To address diversity issues, the report argued that a “system emphasising targeted goals over a period of time” and not “specific quotas” be followed so that IITs can “compete with other top institutions in the world in terms of excellence, output, research and teaching.”

The Committee was constituted in April 2020 with Director of IIT Delhi, V. Ramgopal Rao, as its Chairperson and the Director of IIT Kanpur, Registrars of IIT Bombay and IIT Madras, and representatives from Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Department of Personnel and Training and Department of Persons with Disabilities as members.

It was asked to suggest measures on effective implementation of reservation policies not only in recruitment, but also for admissions. The committee met twice in May and submitted its report on June 17, 2020.

The report said that the expectations on the faculty from IITs were very high due to the quality and standards of education. “The faculty being recruited at IITs are candidates with minimum of Ph.D. degree with superior academic record and with high research accomplishments,” it said.

Highlighting the issue of low enrolment of reserved category students in Ph. D programmes in IITs, the committee said that this was severely limiting the number of reserved category candidates available to be hired as faculty in the IIT system.

Acknowledging the need to address this, the committee suggested offering a two-year Research Assistantship funded by the MoSJE for students from reserved categories aspiring to join Ph. D programmes.

Stating that this will expose them to the IIT system of research, the committee said students may opt for Ph.D admissions or other opportunities after the assistantship. It, however, added that the subsequent selection of these students to regular Ph.D programmes will be only based on “merit” and there shall be no obligation on IITs to admit them.

Alternative option

If granting full exemption from reservations was not possible, the committee recommended that the implement of reservation policies for all categories including Economically Weaker Sections be restricted just to Assistant Professor Grade I and Grade II and not for levels above.

The committee also said vacancies not filled in a particular year due to non-availability, be de-reserved in the subsequent year. It further recommended the conduct of special recruitment drives to attract candidates from reserved categories.

In its reply to the RTI request, MoE said the report is under examination of the government.


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 4:06:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/scrap-quotas-for-faculty-recruitment-in-iits-moe-panel/article33338682.ece

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