The Indian human resource development (HRD) ministry is working on easing visa procedures for foreign faculty members in coordination with the ministries of home and external affairs so that they can teach at the various Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
Last week, the IIT directors met President Ram Nath Kovind over the issue, since he holds the position of Visitor for the IITs in the country, the Economic Times reported. HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar was present at the meeting during which directors of various IITs shared their concerns over clearances required for visas for work and for attending scientific conferences at the institutes.
“The delay in getting the visas acts as an irritant for prospective faculty members,” an IIT director was quoted as saying by the Economic Times. Many of the foreign faculty are hired to work for government-funded colleges for only three months. Though the IITs have been thinking of filling 20-30 per cent faculty positions with foreign teachers, the visa procedure has been a deterrent.
Javadekar is going to be working on hiring more OCI individuals. While there has been opposition from the government in hiring them for government jobs, the IITs have said that they are autonomous.
The IITs are working hard to hire foreign faculty since it would put them at a better position in world university rankings, thereby helping them go international. Interaction with foreign faculty with PhDs has helped students get more research focused. The IITs can hire faculty with foreign passports, including Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).
The premier education institutes have been fighting hard since the government of India declared that they will be enabling 10 public and 10 private Institutions of Eminence (IOE) in an effort to make them reach among the top 100 educational institutions in the world. The government has received applications from 100 universities. .
The selected 20 institutions will be named as “Institutions of Eminence,” and will have greater autonomy to admit foreign students up to 30 per cent of admitted students; to recruit foreign faculty up to 25 per cent of faculty strength; to offer online courses up to 20 per cent of its programs; and to enter into academic collaboration with institutions ranked among the top 500 in the world without the permission of UGC. They will also be free to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction; and have flexibility of course structure in terms of number of credit hours and years to take a degree, and fixing of curriculum and syllabus, the HRD ministry had stated in December 2017.
The government is also mulling over easing visa norms for foreign students, who take up only 1 per cent IIT seats currently.