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Issue No.: 574 | April 2015

Shortage of Qualified Teachers

Suresh C. Sharma
"Those who have witnessed the insults heaped on professors by students in the university would never want to be teachers.”

The Indian Institutes Technology (IITs) face a staff shortage to the extent of 37% resulting in a higher teacher student ratio. 4,308 lecturers have been posted in IITs against a sanctioned strength of 6,944. When the IITs were started, there was a sprinkling of Ph. Ds from foreign universities. This is no more so and the rating of IITs has declined. IIT Bhubaneshwar has only one qualified teacher. The Government has announced plans to establish more IITs. They should first put the existing IITs in good shape. We cannot depend on foreign qualified individuals to volunteer for teaching assignments in India and steps have to be taken to improve the quality of intake of staff of IITs. It takes a long time to train students as engineers and it is all the more necessary to commence steps without delay. 

One of the reasons for reluctance of well qualified individuals to join the teaching faculty could be students’ indiscipline and interference by political leaders. We happened to be travelling with the wife and daughter of the then vice-chancellor of a university. The daughter had been awarded a national merit scholarship and she was on her way to join the designated college. I asked her if she planned to follow in the steps of her father and work her way to be a vice-chancellor. The mother of the girl interrupted to emphatically say "Never. Those who have witnessed the insults heaped on professors by students in the university would never want to be teachers”. Recently, the students and parents of Visva Bharati University, Shantiniketan held the vice-chancellor hostage in his office and did not allow him to receive the visiting President of Bangladesh who had to leave without his lunch. Universities are meant for learning and students indulging in violence or hooliganism should be expelled. Teachers must be respected. 

The situation of qualified staff is even more dismal in the primary schools. 86% teachers failed in the Eligibility Test. A large number of schools in Maharashtra have officiating principals as it has not been possible to get individuals with the approved qualifications. We need to be pragmatic in laying down the qualifications for recruitment of teachers and principals.           

Brig. (retd.) SURESH C. SHARMA, Mumbai,





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