‘Faculty shortage holding back India in information technology’

By Asit Srivastava, IANS,

Lucknow : Faculty shortage is the greatest challenge that is holding India back from taking her rightful place and share in the global information technology (IT) market, according to award-winning academic Bharat Bhasker.

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The “Best Professor of IT 2008” Award was given to Bhaskar, a professor with the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L), at the recently concluded Asian Brand Summit (ABS) and Dewang Mehta Business School Awards function.

“Despite all the talk of India becoming an IT giant, our share of the global information technology market is in single digit. Shortage of faculty is one of the reasons for it,” Bhasker told IANS.

According to Bhasker, in the past 30 years, the country has mostly been expanding its information technology growth in terms of building manpower for outsourcing and off-shoring jobs.

“In this way, unfortunately, we have got stuck at the lowest end of the information technology value chain,” he said.

Taking this into account, we need to visualize an ambitious plan for future growth of the IT industry, he added.

“The plan should focus not only on quantitative growth of manpower to sustain the service model we have mastered but also on qualitative improvement on creating the manpower capable of creating new products and services to shape the future of the IT industry.”

Bhasker pointed out that in a country where the apex institutes are producing less than 10 doctoral students in IT, there is an urgent need to make the doctoral programme attractive for incoming students. “This will help lure the best of the talent.”

Secondly, there is a dire need to create an economically sustainable eco-system that provides students with challenging and financially competitive opportunities in education and research, he said.

Asked to rate IT education in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bhasker said: “UP with over 400 engineering colleges has created adequate infrastructure. Most of these colleges have addressed the infrastructure issue but have failed miserably in recruiting adequate faculty.”

With lack of adequate monitoring and lax regulations they are at times ruining the potential of the students that end up joining them. Many of these institutes manage the teaching with new graduates from their own colleges who were unable to secure a job in the industry, he added.

Bhasker has a diverse experience in academia. He has been a visiting professor at ESSEC Business School, Paris, France and University of Texas, Dallas, USA.

A senior professor at IIM Lucknow in the area of IT and Systems, Bhasker as a principal is responsible for setting up the Internet Commerce Research Centre at IIM-L. The centre will conduct research and development in the focus area of internet commerce with the objective of boosting its growth in India.