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Ramgopal Rao: Faculty compensation should be a top concern

V Ramgopal Rao, a former director of IIT Delhi, stated in a recent tweet that faculty pay in private colleges are a problem that has to be addressed in India. He emphasised that some of the teachers are not even receiving pay in accordance with the 7th Pay Commission and are seeking employment with government entities as a result. According to Ramgopal Rao, a decent university cannot be created by opulent structures and expansive campuses; rather, regulatory organisations and procedures must impose measures to remedy the unfairness.

Under the condition of anonymity, a senior academician expressed a similar opinion. “Several PhDs from the IITs and IISc who have entered the private sector bemoan the fact that they are not receiving the basic minimum wage and are looking for government college posts across the nation. A BTech or PhD from an old IIT, for instance, would still be making around Rs 50,000 even after a few years of postdoctoral work. Even if several of the institutions have been designated as Institutions of Eminence (IoEs) and some of them have luxurious campuses, they do not believe that faculty wages are a worthwhile investment, according to him.

While many institutions recruit retired IIT academics, who are paid very well, it is not the same for the faculty who regularly teach in the classrooms. “These faculty may find it challenging to get government jobs which is a time-consuming process and there could be reservation issues as well. However, it is not as if all private institutions are poor pay masters,” he emphasises.

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Vice-Chancellor of BITS Pilani Souvik Bhattacharyya confirms this: “There are non-government universities where faculty wages are either on par with those in the IITs/7th pay Commission grades or even higher than that. One such institution where salaries are directly matched to IIT/7th Pay Commission pay grades is BITS Pilani. In the IITs, the pay for professor and professor (HAG) cadres really reaches a saturation point at the top of the scale; nevertheless, at BITS Pilani, these cadres continue to get annual raises, pushing up their salaries above the corresponding IIT gross pay for those levels.ever, it is not as if all private institutions are poor pay masters,” he emphasises.

Though remuneration is an important aspect for faculty members, this cannot be the only factor impacting the quality of education, says Jitu Mishra, chief administrative officer and senior director HR at OP Jindal Global University (JGU). “JGU’s policies such as research grant, publication incentives facilitate the faculty members to work on their intellectual growth and the institution-building.”

The current generation prefers air-conditioned classrooms to those with malfunctioning fans and damaged desks. According to Mishra, “We offer top-notch infrastructure without sacrificing the calibre of the academic members, whose wages are in line with the UGC guidelines.”

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