labels: all india council for technical education, technology
Staff shortage forces AICTE to lure engineering PGs to teachingnews
James Paul
08 October 2003

Kochi: The acute shortage of qualified teaching staff in the fast-expanding field of professional education has prompted the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to initiate a new project aimed at luring engineering post-graduates to the teaching profession.

Titled the Early Faculty Induction Programme (EFIP), the scheme offers an amount of Rs 5,000 per month by AICTE in addition to their salary for a period of three years. The EFIP candidate, after selection, will also be eligible for getting a contingency grant of Rs 10,000 per year of the PG programme towards purchasing books, equipment or for attending seminars. Moreover, the candidate will be freed from EFIP scheme if s/he does not get any teaching position in any technical institution within a period of six months.

"The scheme," says Dr R Ravindran Nair, the dean of National Institute of Technology, Kozhikode, and the EFIP coordinator in Kerala, "was announced after AICTE realised that the quality of technical education was deteriorating due to a shortage of qualified teachers. Not many BTechs were interested in taking up teaching as a profession as they had better offers from sunrise areas."

The crisis was felt most in the disciplines of information technology, computers and electronics. None of the colleges could match the perks and incentives that were offered by the software industry.

"Through EFIP, we are offering them a starting payment of about Rs 18,000. While the colleges will be paying the standard salary of Rs 13,000-plus, AICTE will pay them an additional Rs 5,000 as incentive," says Prof K Krishnaiah, principal EFIP coordinator for engineering and technology discipline.

"The estimated number of vacancies in engineering side alone is around 25,000. Not many BTech graduates show interest in joining a PG programme or in continuing pure research. We hope that EFIP will help change their attitude," says Krishnaiah.

"Only about 0.03 per cent of graduates turn to engineering research. This trend threatens to hit the country''s development also," points out Cusat vice-chancellor N Unnikrishnan Nair. "EFIP looks hopeful as it encourages engineering graduates to enter teaching eventually into the realms of serious research. Though Cusat is only facing a shortage of 20 per cent teaching strength, the situation is not bright in other parts," he says.

But Dr G P C Nayar, president of Self-financing Engineering College Managements'' Association, says the situation in Kerala is much better when compared to other states. "The opening up of the education sector has been a blessing for Kerala''s unemployed engineers. We have recruited many youngsters as teachers. They are also given a chance to pursue their PG."

Sharing the hope that the new initiative will help tide over the shortage, Babu Joseph, former Cusat VC, is of the view that more avenues for pursuing PG should be opened "so that young graduates will look beyond an immediate job outside the country. It is a serious situation; there is an urgent need to improve the quality of teaching."

According to Dr Y Madhusudan Rao, principal EFIP coordinator (pharmacy), Kakatiya University, Warangal, the scenario is really bleak in the pharmacy discipline. "We have a vacancy of about 80,000 staff members. EFIP is aimed not only at recruiting young teachers but also at retaining them for a few years. The objective is to create a new line of qualified teaching staff. We will be giving them an advanced training programme in teaching after the completion of their PG."

The selected EFIP candidate will have to execute a bond with AICTE that s/he will be willing to take up a teaching position as lecturer for a period of three years. The principal EFIP coordinator will prepare a placement brochure giving brief background and bio-data of each graduating EFIP candidate. This will be circulated to all the prospective employers who will be asked to send their advertisements for employment to the EFIP centres.

The coordinators will also arrange an employer and candidate meet between the EFIP candidates and all technical Institutes. In case an EFIP candidate does not get selected, s/he will be paid a consolidated amount of Rs 10,000 per month by AICTE for a maximum period of six months.

All GATE qualified students in the first semester of MTech or equivalent programme or BTech graduates from IITs pursuing MTech programmes or dual degree students of IX semester in IITs and regular PhD students who have completed three years of their programme are eligible for applying.


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Staff shortage forces AICTE to lure engineering PGs to teaching