INDIA: Task force to tackle academic shortage

Having advanced the gross enrolment ratio in higher education to a highly ambitious 16% by the end of 11th Plan, India's Human Resource Development Ministry has set up a task force to find a solution to deal with an acute shortage of academics and to work out an incentive plan aimed at better remuneration and greater societal respect, writes Akshaya Mukul for The Times of India.

The task force is to be headed by Sanjay Dhande, director of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur. It is likely to produce an interim report within a month. By last weekend University Grants Commission chairman Sukhdeo Thorat had informed parliament's consultative committee about the formation of the taskforce as a serious effort to deal with faculty shortage at a time when a major expansion of higher education is in progress.

Minister Kapil Sibal has advanced the GER target from 16% at the end of 11th Plan to 30% by 2016-17. This will mean massive recruitment of teachers in central and state universities, said a source. Currently GER is 7% to 8%. Dhande told the Times of India that the twin issues of faculty shortage and lack of incentives for lecturers had been afflicting higher education for a long time. "Unlike the manufacturing sector where productivity is quantified, measurement of productivity of teachers is a difficult thing. We are collecting data," he said.
Full report on The Times of India site

The recruitment of lecturers in state universities is plagued with corruption in many states. It is not true that qualified lecturers are in shortage. Corruption starts at the level of appointment of vice chancellors then this percolates into the recruitment of lecturers. There are fixed rates for everything and in the process well-qualified people are left out because they cannot afford to make the payments. Is there any mechanism to legally prevent this abnoxious practice?

Professor T.K.Raja,