After being criticized for their student-teacher ratio, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have decided to include the Ph.D. students in the faculty count so that the ratio could be improved.
The last meeting of the IIT Council was held on August 23 where this decision was finalized. According to the sources, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar approved the suggestion of counting five Ph.D. students as one faculty member at the premier technical institutions in the country so that the student-teacher ratio could be improved. The decision will soon be made official and the ranking agencies including Times Higher Education and Quacquareli Symonds (QS) will be notified regarding the same.
A senior official from the HRD ministry said that all the Ph.D. scholars will have to teach undergraduate students in order to reach the threshold of 10 hours per week for each Ph.D. student. The teaching time for a regular IIT faculty member is 40 hours per week. To figure it up, five Ph.D. scholars can be counted as one faculty member based on the working hours. This pattern is also followed by prestigious institutions such as MIT and Stanford.
Present, 2,600 faculty positions are unoccupied across all IITs. As a result of this, the student-teacher ratio has fallen down to 15:1 which should ideally be 10:1. After the implementation of the above scheme, there will be 26,000 Ph.D. scholars at IITs who will be teaching undergraduate students counting up to 5,000 faculty members. This will help the institutes immensely in reaching the required standard.
The student-teacher ratio is one of the things that is holding IITs back from performing in the international rankings. The positions of six IITs have slipped in the QS Rankings on the basis of several parameters that are considered while ranking the institutes.