India Reverses Faculty Hiring Quotas at 47 Top Universities

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jan 29 19:46:25 UTC 2009

January 29, 2009
India Reverses Faculty Hiring Quotas at 47 Top Universities

New Delhi — Buckling under pressure from academics at the prestigious
Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian government has decided to
exempt those and a number of other universities from quotas in faculty
appointments. News of the exemption was revealed at a meeting on
Wednesday of the institutes' council, the highest decision-making body
for the engineering schools. The council was told that a bill passed
in December by the upper house of parliament spells out the
representation for India's lowest castes and classes in
federal-government posts, including at public universities, but
exempts a total of 47 higher-education institutions, labeled
"institutions of excellence," from faculty quotas.

It is almost certain that the lower house of parliament will endorse
the bill in its summer session. "Once the bill is passed, there will
be no reservation in IIT faculty," the education secretary, R.P.
Agrawal, told reporters on Wednesday. For higher-education
institutions the exemption is a rare victory against Arjun Singh, the
minister in charge of higher education. The move to introduce the
exemptions comes three years after the minister announced that 27
percent of seats in public universities were to be set aside for the
"Other Backward Classes," thus increasing total quotas to almost 50

The engineering schools' directors told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
last year that faculty quotas would hurt the quality of teaching at a
time of severe shortages of faculty talent, The Telegraph reported.
One university official told The Hindustan Times of receiving 15,000
applications for 300 open faculty posts, but of being unable to find
qualified candidates from among the reserved groups. The prime
minister promised he would take up the concerns with Mr. Singh, and
subsequently a new bill was introduced in parliament. —Shailaja

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