Published: 07th August 2021
Much hyped, highly qualified faculty in these engg colleges now stare at an uncertain future
Many of these recruits were PhDs or MTech degree holders from IITs, NITs and IISER and some were from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru as well
Once projected as a panacea for uplifting the quality of engineering education in rural areas and small towns, nearly 1500 technical education teachers — who were fresh degree holders from IITs and NITs when recruited — across 18 states are now looking at an uncertain future.
While the Centre, which had appointed them as assistant professors on temporary basis in technical institutions in backward or "aspirational" districts in early 2018 amid much fanfare, seems to be in no mood to continue their services, states too have failed to regularise them. Many of these recruits were PhDs or MTech degree holders from IITs, NITs and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research and some were from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru as well.
The World Bank funded Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP III) was aimed at aiding technical colleges in various states which included Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar, Assam, and Meghalaya, among others. As part of the MoU signed between states and the Union education ministry, state governments were supposed to have a "sustainability plan" for these employees and were to prioritise them in regular appointments in engineering colleges but most have now backed out, sources said.
The project implementation plan of the programme clearly specified that "well-performing faculty hired using project funds will be retained post-project, or else unchanged." On its part, the Centre first extended the appointments in September last year for 6 months after the first contract came to an end and further extended it in March this year for another 6 months following protests by the TEQIP faculty members.
But with the contracts coming to an end in September, the appointees are on tenterhooks as despite offering services in engineering colleges in some of the most far-flung areas, they are staring at joblessness. "Our work in the colleges and areas we are in, has been praised by institutions such as Niti Aayog but it's a pity that we are so insecure about our future and don't know what will happen to us after September 30," said Anshul Awasthi, who after doing his MTech from NIT, Surat had joined Ujjain engineering college. With no clear resolution to the issue in sight, these teachers, said Awasthi, are planning to protest in Delhi in the coming days to make their voices heard.