Bangalore-The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), prestigious institutions known for their academic excellence, are facing criticism and scrutiny over their recent special recruitment drive. Particularly at IIM Bangalore, concerns have been raised regarding the generic nature of advertisements, lacking specificity on qualifications and eligibility criteria for candidates. The aftermath of applicants' submissions reveals a trend of standardized responses, where the institute acknowledges 'great profiles' but cites a lack of current openings, promising to keep profiles for future reference.
The issue of vacant positions for reserved categories at higher education institutes has always been a matter of concern for social groups fighting to ensure equity and empowerment for marginalized sections of society. In a case highlighting blatant violation of reservation policies and an apparent eyewash, various IIMs across the country have let faculty positions remain vacant despite conducting a special recruitment drive.
In an email addressed to the Director of IIM Bangalore, the 'Association of Ambedkarite Academics,' an organization working for social diversity and inclusion, has raised pertinent questions. These include inquiries about the SC/ST/OBC/EWS/PwD cell or community-specific cells on the campus, the representation of these groups in past special recruitment drives, and whether the institute abides by the roster system as directed by the Government of India. The email also points out that the advertisement issued by IIM-B is very generic and queries the objective criteria for shortlisting applicants.
The IIMs regularly update about recruitment, but for the past two years, IIM Bangalore has not recruited a single candidate. This purportedly contributes to the central government's proposed move to prune the autonomy of these institutes.
The Mooknayak spoke to Anil Wagde from the 'Association of Ambedkarite Academics,' who stated, 'At IIM Bangalore, the advertisements are very generic and don’t specify the qualifications or eligibility criteria for the candidates. When candidates apply for these posts, the institute responds with standard templates like 'great profile, but currently, we do not have any openings. We will keep your profile with us for future reference,' etc. He added that this applies only to Assistant Professor positions, whereas there must be a backlog in several other departments over these years.
Wagde, an alumnus of IIM-C, revealed that he has offered suggestions to the government. He proposes the establishment of a separate board, akin to UPSC, for the recruitment of faculty for IIMs. This board would conduct recruitments on behalf of the IIMs as per their demand. 'If left to the faculties, nothing is going to happen, and I think they should stop the recruitment because nothing is happening, and the backlog keeps adding up,' he said.
He said, 'I learned from some sources that in a department of 15 persons, even if two or three faculties like a candidate's portfolio, he or she is called for an interview. However, at IIM Bangalore, not even a single person has been called for interviews.' Recalling a conversation with the IIM Ahmedabad director in 2017, he said, 'The Director mentioned that the faculties are not interested in implementing reservations.'
When The Mooknayak reached out to the Public Relations department of IIM Bangalore for insights into the ongoing issue, the department declined to provide any information. Instead, they recommended pursuing the details through a Right to Information (RTI) filing.
Data shared by the education ministry to Lok Sabha in 2021 showed that in central universities (CUs), over 50% of the senior faculty positions in reserved categories in centrally funded higher education institutions are vacant. Specifically, 75.2% of the sanctioned SC posts, 87.3% of the ST positions, and 84.7% of the OBC posts for the position of professor are lying vacant. In the associate professor category, the vacancy rates are 64.7%, 76.8%, and 76.6%, respectively."