To fill IIT faculty gaps, PhD entry for BTechs

NEW DELHI: In the IIT council meeting next week, HRD ministry will propose a new research scholar scheme that proposes to identify 1,000 bright BTech students from premier engineering colleges who can be admitted straight into PhD programmes.

Sources said that “IITs will be asked if it is possible to get exceptional students into PhD immediately after BTech”. It would also be proposed that “BTech passouts from IITs who have job experience and are interested in research should be enrolled in PhD,” they added.

A ministry official said the larger idea is to solve the problem of faculty crunch in IITs. He said it is ironical that despite around 2,000 PhDs coming out of IITs each year, the same number of vacancies exist. “When it comes to hiring teachers, IITs are very selective. The need is to improve the quality of PhD and attract bright IIT students to undertake research,” a source said.

To make PhD after BTech attractive, government proposes to offer hefty scholarships to students. “It will not be big enough to compensate the salary a IIT student gets after BTech but it will probably be among the highest,” one official said.

The Anil Kakodkar Committee report on IITs had recommended that each IIT should progressively grow to have around 1,200 faculty (from around 500 today) and closer to 12,000 students with maximum growth coming from an enhanced number of PhD students. It had suggested a minimum of 0.6 PhDs per faculty annually, eventually reaching 1 PhD per faculty. On this basis, the committee had suggested that the IIT system should be scaled to 16,000 faculty and 1,60,000 total student strength (with 40,000 at the PhD level, 40,000 at the Masters level and 80,000 UG students) by around the year 2020.

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