IITs start faculty recruitment from SC, ST, OBC communities in “mission mode”

IITs had wanted out of the central reservation policy for SC, ST, OBC communities for recruitment of academic staff.

IITs start faculty recruitment from SC, ST, OBC communities in “mission mode” IIT special recruitment drive 2021
Team Careers360 | Sep 15, 2021 - 8:01 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: After resisting reservation in faculty recruitments for long, several Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are now actively recruiting teachers from the historically marginalized Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes.

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IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur, IIT (Banaras Hindu University), and IIT Ropar have all posted public advertisements for the “special recruitment drive” or “mission mode faculty recruitment drive” calling for applications to fill posts reserved for SC, ST, OBC, EWS, and disabled candidates. The drive is for posts at assistant, associate and professor levels in various departments of the institutes.

On August 23, the education ministry had directed all institutes such as IITs, Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and central universities to fill vacant faculty positions, especially in SC, ST, and OBC categories, by September 2022. The ministry had also sought a monthly report on the actions taken to fill the vacancies.

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The institutes are commonly looking for candidates with PhD with first-class in the preceding degree in the appropriate branch along with a “very good academic record throughout”. For assistant professors, minimum of three years of experience in teaching, research or industry is preferred as per the advertisement.

“We have already advertised [the special recruitment drive]. After [its] completion, we will process the applications. We are advertising but for the purpose of recruitment, we are not compromising on the quality. Not that we are not recruiting SC, ST and OBC. We have many SC, ST and OBC faculty members. We are following the government rules,” Tamal Nath, IIT Kharagpur registrar told Careers360.

As per the central law, these institutes are required to implement a reservation of 27% in faculty positions for candidates from OBC category, 15% for SC and 7.5% for ST candidates.

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IITs wanted exemption from reservations

The IITs have repeatedly come under heavy criticism for caste discrimination with several incidents surfacing in the past few months. In July, a teacher in IIT Madras’ humanities and social science department resigned alleging caste discrimination by senior faculty and administration. In May, an IIT Kharagpur teacher was suspended from her position for abusing students from the SC, ST, OBC community attending remedial classes.

After a parliamentary panel questioned the education ministry on the implementation of reservation policy, it had directed IITs and IIMs to follow the quota policy in teachers’ recruitment. Following this, an eight-member committee was formed to suggest measures for effective implementation of reservation.

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The committee, which included representatives from different IITs, sought exemption from quotas in the central scheme of reservation and wanted to be included in the Schedule of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act 2019. This law governs the institutions of excellence (IoEs), and institutions of national importance and exempts them from granting caste-based reservation in faculty recruitment. This IIT report further claimed that the number of appointments from the reserved categories has been low because there aren’t enough “qualified candidates” emerging from the PhD programmes. The Telegraph reported that the union government did not agree to an exemption. However, V. Ramgopal Rao, IIT Delhi director said that the centre has not taken a decision yet.

"In our last four meetings, we have decided to conduct special recruitment for the SC, ST including a special recruitment drive for the postdoctoral fellows from the reserved category. The centre has not taken any decision. We are also trying to recruit more and more postdoctoral fellows from these categories so that they can be groomed to become faculty members at some point. We are following the reservation policy," said Rao. He also indicated that currently, the issue is the "availability" of reserved category candidates.

In addition, other centrally-funded institutions like Central University of Rajasthan (CURAJ), Indian Institute of Science Education Research (IISER) Kolkata, IIM Ranchi, and IIM Jammu have also started a “special recruitment drive”. Education ministry data revealed that 47.57% of teaching posts for reserved categories in centrally-run educational institutions are vacant.

Update: This copy has been updated to include the IIT Delhi director's comments.

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