Concerned by the poor quality of research and need for better faculty, the alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, on Wednesday recommended that more perks should be given to the faculty to attract world's best teachers at the institute.
About 400 alumni from India and abroad had gathered in New Delhi to discuss the future of the institute, and draw a strategy to put IIT-D among the best five technical institutions of the world.
Organised by the IIT-D Alumni Association, the meeting called 'IIT Vision 2020' collected suggestions from the alumni and plans to prepare a final draft (of the recommendations) by March 15.
These recommendations called 'Vision 2020: The IIT in the New Millennium' will be given to the IIT Review Committee headed by P Ramarao, vice-chancellor of the University of Hyderabad.
The focus of the meeting was to find out ways to attract better faculty to improve the quality of research at IIT-D. It also looked at possibilities of attracting more students in its post-graduate and PhD courses.
M S Banga, chairman of Hindustan Lever, said there was consensus that more perks should be given to the teachers and the institute should provide them better quality of life.
"There is an urgent need to look into the hygiene factor for the faculty in terms of better compensation, quality of life and housing," he said.
"Without that it would be difficult to fill in the gap," added Banga.
One hundred and fifteen faculty members of IIT-D are expected to retire over the next seven years. The institute is now mulling ways to attract young and dynamic teachers.
A teacher who joins IIT as an assistant professor gets a monthly salary of Rs 26,000 and other benefits. By the time he becomes professor, he gets around Rs 56,000 along with other benefits.
This, the alumni felt, was quite less compared to what their counterparts in foreign universities earn. Moreover, the alumni pointed out that people with same qualifications working in the industry earn relatively much more.
The participants felt that the faculty should be given more opportunity to work as consultants with private firms besides the teaching and research they do at the institute. "This will help them earn more money. This way we can attract the world's best brains here. This is practiced elsewhere in the world," said Banga.
H S Bhartia, co-chairman and managing director of Jubilant Organosys, who chaired the session on research, said interest towards research should be inculcated at an early stage of education.
The observers at the session felt research-oriented papers should be introduced in the second year of the under-graduate course. Currently, only 8 per cent of IIT graduates opt for higher studies. Others join the industry.
The session also recommended having separate Research Council besides the Academic Council to monitor and facilitate research work.
Kamal Mansharamani, COO of Birlasoft, said there was need to free the IITs from bureaucratic hassles and give more freedom in day-to-day functioning.
Ramarao, chairman of the review committee, suggested that a fund should be created to help teachers and research scholars go abroad to upgrade their skills every year.
R S Sirohi, director of IIT Delhi, however, rejected the view that quality of research at IIT was not at par with other globally reputed institutions.He said: "We all know of the goal. But we need to search the path to achieve those goals."