Given how the IIMs are one of India’s top bets when it comes to world-class higher education institutes, it is shocking that many of them are facing a faculty crunch. As per The Economic Times (ET), none of the IIMs meet the prescribed ratio of one full-time teaching staff for every 10 students. The older, more reputed IIMs come close—Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta have managed to keep the ratio at 1:11/12 for the last couple of years. But, it is the new IIMs—13 have come up since 2010—where the problem is pronounced, and is likely to get worse as they increase the number of seats to reach the respective peak intake. IIM Kozhikode, for instance, will be increasing seats by 60, taking the overall capacity to 800, even as there are just 68 faculty members at the institute.
The shortage is rooted in the fact that both existing faculty members and young PhDs who could have been potential recruits are now increasingly preferring high-paying corporate jobs over teaching jobs at the IIMs. As per the ET report, many IIM officials seem to think that the IIM Act that was implemented this January would help solve the problem because it empowers the IIMs to recruit freely and decide on teachers’ salaries; they believe the provision will let IIMs offer competitive salaries. But with the government planning to regulate IIM fees, and ironically in the present context, push IIMs to increase intake, the hope that the IIM Act will be empowering could be misplaced. To deal with its faculty crunch, the IIMs must look Westwards—apart from competitive salaries, top US research universities offer many incentives for research that keeps ace teaching talent from looking for greener pastures. Even at the public school level, teachers are rewarded generously for performance, which in turn, causes lesser attrition.