Student-Teacher Ratio at IITs - A Concern for Their Global Ranking

Dushyant Vanaik updated on : 23 Aug 2016

IITs are the most prestigious institutes of technology in India, but where do they stand globally?


The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are doing it all to stand among the most prestigious institutes in the world. But with a poor student-teacher ratio, the global rankings are at a downfall. The current average student-teacher ratio is standing at 15:1, against a requirement of 10:1 in most IITs. Close to 35% of the faculty positions sanctioned are vacant at these institutes.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, chairman of the IIT council, said the issue will be taken up at a meeting on 23rd August. Various solutions, like appointing PhD students as faculty, will be considered by the ministry.

A senior official from the ministry said, “Students completing their PhD courses can be selected and mentored to join as faculty members. The council will consider the options of their campus recruitment. Also, faculty from industry can be invited to teach until the issue is resolved.”

Having a poor student-teacher ratio is a prime reason for poor performance of IITs on the global rankings. In comparison, The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has a student-teacher ratio of 6:9, holding the number one spot in World University Rankings 2015.

Among the IITs, the older institutes like IIT Varanasi and IIT Kharagpur have poor ratios of 22:1 and 19:1 respectively, whereas the new IITs have a close required ratio of 11:1.

The ministry plans to add 30,000 off-campus students to these 18 IITs by 2020, and if sources are to be believed, the ratios will get more off-balance, if not corrected soon. The ministry is also planning to sanction new teaching positions specifically at IITs with a poor ratio, said an official.

Out of the 18 IITs, only 7 make it to the list of global rankings. The top two are IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi. With a ratio of 14:1, IIT Bombay comes in the 351-400 rank range and with a ratio of 16:1; IIT Delhi comes in the rank range of 401-500.

Officials at the IITs admit that the student-teacher ratio is a challenge but the IITs maintain a very high bar for permanent faculty. Instead of hiring poor permanent faculty, they tend to hire DBT Ramanujan and DST INSPIRE fellows along with PhD fellows from their own institutes. But they are not considered as faculty, hence leading to poor ratios.

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