The quality of education being imparted to 300 students who joined the premier medical institutes last year is a big question mark for want of the faculty as only about 85 or so posts have been filled up

New Delhi : The Government is grappling with the problem of the faculty crunch affecting the country”s top institutions, including the IITs and all six premier medical institutes set up on the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) that kicked off the academic session more than a year ago. The quality of education being imparted to 300 students who joined the premier medical institutes last year is a big question mark for want of the faculty as only about 85 or so posts have been filled up in each of them as against the sanction of 305 posts for senior faculty, including additional professors, associate professors and assistant professors for each institute.

Overall, 4081 posts were allotted to the six premier institutes set up in Bhopal, Jodhpur, Raipur, Bhubaneshwar, Patna and Rishikesh, with each institute to take 50 students for the MBBS course to correct the regional imbalance in availability of affordable healthcare services under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana that was launched way back in 2008.
Sources said the situation at the level of the junior and senior residents too is dismissal. Out of 700 sanctioned poss of the junior residents, hardly 40 have been appointed. The residents will be required urgently, once the hospitals start functioning in these institutes. In a review meeting taken recently to discuss the staff shortage, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed his dismay that despite the quick sanction of the posts, not much efforts were done to fill up them.
In the case of IITs and other premier institutes, the Human Resources Development is battling with the Home Ministry blocking appointment of the foreign teachers and it has now approached the Prime Minister to relax the guidelines to address the mid-level faculty shortage.
The guidelines set by the Home Ministry allow work permits to only those foreigners who are appointed for high-end jobs with the salary of not less than $25,000 a year that works out to Rs 15.84 lakhs. The HRD Ministry says engaging the foreign faculty at such a high salary would create an anomaly vis-a-vis the Indian assistant professors and associate professors in IITs and central universities who get between Rs 40,000 and Rs 80,000 a month.
The HRD Ministry officials unsuccessfully tried to explain to the Home Ministry in a high-level meeting last week that the income criteria fixed by it was affecting the growth of the institutions. They stressed that the income criteria may be good for the foreigners recruited by the industries, but it were too high in case of the educational institutions. The home ministry’s logic was that jobs in India should be protected for Indians unless there was a real need to hire from abroad, the HRD ministry officials argued that premier institutions could appoint foreign faculty on contract if the norms were relaxed.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry sources said the faculty crunch was being felt not only by the premier institutions but also in most of the medical colleges in the country as enough teachers with MD and other qualifications are just not available to match the opening of the large number of such colleges.

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