Poor stu­dent-fac­ulty ra­tio at IITs hurts rank­ing

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Nee­lam Pandey nee­lam.pandey@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The In­dian In­sti­tutes of Tech­nol­ogy hope to com­pete with the best in the world but a poor stu­dent-teacher ra­tio is thwart­ing their bid to up their global rank­ing.

With 35% of sanc­tioned fac­ulty po­si­tions va­cant, the IITs — the first choice for as­pir­ing en­gi­neers in In­dia — have an av­er­age stu­dent-teacher ra­tio of 15:1 against a 10:1 re­quire­ment.

The IIT coun­cil chaired by HRD min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar will take up the is­sue at a meet­ing on Au­gust 23. The min­istry is con­sid­er­ing sev­eral so­lu­tions, in­clud­ing absorbing PhD stu­dents as fac­ulty.

“PhD stu­dents fin­ish­ing their cour­ses can be iden­ti­fied and men­tored to join as fac­ulty. The coun­cil will take up the is­sue of their cam­pus re­cruit­ment. Also, ad­junct fac­ulty from in­dus­try can be iden­ti­fied and in­vited to teach a se­mes­ter or two,” said a se­nior min­istry of­fi­cial.

Another op­tion is get­ting for­eign fac­ulty.

An ill-main­tained stu­dent­fac­ulty ra­tio is a ma­jor rea­son for the IITs per­form­ing poorly on global rank­ings. The Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (Cal­tech), which holds the top spot in the World Univer­sity Rank­ings 2015, has a stu­dent-teacher ra­tio of 6.9, in com­par­i­son.

Only seven IITs make the rank­ings. The top two are IITBom­bay, which comes in the 351-400 sec­tion, and Delhi in the 401-500 sec­tion (there are no in­di­vid­ual ranks be­yond the top 100). IIT-Bom­bay has a stu­dent­fac­ulty ra­tio of 14:1 while it is 16:1 for Delhi.

Even among the IITs, the older in­sti­tutes have the poor­est ra­tios — 22:1 in Varanasi (IIT-BHU) and 19:1 in Kharag­pur — while some of the newer ones are close to the re­quired ra­tio at 11:1.

Min­istry sources said the ra­tio, if not cor­rected, will get more skewed as there are plans to add 30,000 off-cam­pus stu­dents to the 18 IITs by 2020.

The min­istry is also look­ing at sanc­tion­ing new teach­ing po­si­tions specif­i­cally at IITs with a poor ra­tio, an of­fi­cial said.

De­spite th­ese num­bers, there is fierce com­pe­ti­tion to get into the IITs, which have 72,000 stu­dents at present. More than a mil­lion as­pi­rants ap­peared for the JEE main exam this year.

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