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Sunday, September 6, 2009

IIT Bombay faculty joins nationwide stir over higher pay

Mumbai, Sep 5 Around 450 faculty members of IIT Bombay today joined the nationwide relay fast demanding better pay structure.

Nearly 4,000 IIT faculty members in the country are participating in the agitation, which has entered its second phase. Ten days ago, the faculty members of the elite technology institutes had taken mass casual leave.

Faculty members here continued to teach but wore black badges as a mark of protest. They said Union HRD Ministry should consider their demand seriously as they are overburdened with additional 27 per cent of students through OBC quota and also have to cater to new and satellite IITs.

The faculty members had submitted a memorandum to the Ministry last month in support of their demand.

The IIT faculty is currently getting salaries as per the Sixth Pay Commission report, which according to them, is equal to UGC grade. They, however, want a higher scale as IITs are specialsed higher educational institutes.

Pay asst profs at least as much as students earn: IIMA faculty

Ahmedabad: Discontent professors of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) on Thursday, expressing their angst in a memorandum to the Union HRD minister, claimed that assistant professors should be paid "at least somewhere close" to the average salaries their students can expect.

The memorandum submitted by the faculty council of IIMA raises serious concerns over attracting world-class faculty "in much higher numbers than now" at the remuneration levels currently offered. "The following analysis assumes that a primary purpose of the pay revision in the IIMs is to attract and retain world-class academic talent in these premier institutions and to enable their expansion," the memorandum said.

After the revision under the sixth pay commission, the pay scale of IIM professors is no different from the UGC scales. This, they contest, is absolutely unfair as in addition to the higher calibre required of an IIMA professor, the sheer number of years that they are required to put in, in industry and research are more than those required by other universities. The IIMs are therefore looking at much more senior people from the industry, and the same pay scales as the UGC cannot be unanimously employed, the memorandum said.

Comparing their pay scales with that of Harvard Business School and the Indian School of Business, the professors have contested in their memorandum that even the new incoming foreign universities will pay in the same league, leaving the IIMs at a big disadvantage as far as attracting talented faculty is concerned.

"The MHRD wants world-class quality in the IIMs. But quality comes at a cost. Unless the government reconsiders the entry-level pay in premier academic institutions, it runs a very real risk of not only not attracting new talent, but also losing the faculty that it already has," the memorandum said.

Talking about assistant professors, the memorandum specified that the entry requirement for a regular appointment to the post in the IIMs is at least three years' of industrial, research or teaching experience, plus a PhD. In comparison, assistant professors in the university system can be hired with just a master's degree with no requirement of industrial experience.

"A student graduating from a top IIM can expect to get an average salary of Rs12 lakh per annum. An assistant professor should get a salary at least somewhere near this level," it said. In addition to similar contentions for associate professors and professors, the memorandum said, "Downgrading academics does not bode well for higher education and it is not consistent with the MHRD objective of nurturing quality in premier institutes in the country that can compete with the best in the world."

"For purposes of international comparison, professors at Harvard have salaries in excess of $300,000 per annum. Even "public" university-based business schools like McCombs School of University of Texas at Austin pay full professors in excess of $200,000. At PPP conversion of five (three is more realistic), these levels still come to Rs30 lakh and Rs20 lakh, respectively, per annum. Achieving world-class quality needs professors who are willing to lead and mentor younger colleagues in research and teaching. The right incentives will encourage more professors in the movement in this direction," it said.

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