The likelihood of losing teaching staff members to foreign institutions has put Indian management schools on high alert
Indian management schools are not leaving anything to chance when foreign universities eventually get permission to set up campuses in the country.
The Cabinet recently approved the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations, Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialisation) Bill, and Parliament, too, is expected to give its sanction to the Bill.
B-schools, on their part, are leafing through every known book for ideas to retain faculty members since they are reeling under a faculty crunch. The steps include offering research grants, planning more collaborations, and even offering higher remuneration packages.
The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow has, for instance, decided to demarcate funds worth several crores as research grants for its faculty. "I firmly believe that most academically-oriented people looking at a career in education are not only fascinated by money. If it was so, they could have easily moved to the corporate sector, where PhDs are keenly sought after. These are individuals who are willing to look at a smaller compensation package, so long their interest in research, and educating others are fulfiled.
“So if we get our act together and inculcate an atmosphere of innovation and research across campuses in India, I believe that in longer run, we will win hands down. Better facilities, more sops for research and ingraining a "research-orientation" in faculty are the steps to take this forward. In fact, we at IIM Lucknow have decided to demarcate funds to the tune of several crores to be offered as research grants for our faculty and fellowship programme participants. We also offer the highest stipend to our students of PhD Program,” says Devi Singh, director, IIM Lucknow.
Singh believes Indian universities may face dilution of their standards as teachers might get attracted to the large salaries offered by the foreign universities. But this will be reality in the short term. “After a year or two, it will be a question of availability of funds for research and development, focus on academia, curriculum, etc of the institutes in question.
Similarly, IIM Kozhikode has its own plans to compete with foreign universities. “We will improve our standards and globalise our curriculum. Foreign universities are welcome to bring healthy competition to the country. As far as faculty strength is concerned, we are already adequate in numbers,” says Debashish Chatterjee, director of IIM-K.
Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon is scouting for more collaborations for faculty exchange and has also restructured its research policy to encourage its faculty.
"MDI is already working on faculty exchange and has restructured its entire research policy which encourages faculty members to do high quality research and publications. We also take pride in our HR policies and service rules. Besides, MDI has done a number of tie-ups with top universities across the globe for student exchange, faculty exchange, collaborative researches, conferences and programmes and is looking at more such collaborations which would open a lot of opportunities for the faculty,” says B S Sahay, director, MDI, Gurgaon.
Sahay suggests the government should put strict parameters in place while selecting the foreign universities that choose to come to India. “In India, we have seen competition from foreign brands in different sectors like IT, automobile, telecom, FMCG, among others and the education sector too will be prepared to take up the challenge. We welcome the Government's decision to allow foreign universities to set their campuses in India. However strict parameters should be set for selecting the foreign educational institutes to ensure that only the best be allowed. This will encourage Indian educational institutes to gear up for enhancing the quality of delivery, quality of content and academic rigor so as to be at par with the best foreign institutions,” Sahay says.
While there are others who have already put their act together to ensure their faculty stays even if a foreign university comes up in the near future. “Since we were already aware of the bill pending for the past four years, and the developments and changes it would bring along in the education scenario, we have already developed our infrastructure and teaching methodology to match the standards. We have more than 20 senior faculties from American and European Universities teaching at our campus and are looking forward to having more of international faculty and students at our campus in times to come. We are already offering them packages and infrastructure at par with the international universities. We are also in talks with a number of universities for tie-ups for joint university programs,” says PK Gupta, chancellor, Sharda University
Singh is, however, hopeful the lure of higher salaries will not attract IIM Lucknow’s faculty to foreign universities. “Initial euphoria about great salaries and the charm to be associated with a recognised global name, may interest a few faculty members. But most of our faculty would be more than willing to forego the charms of the unknown for the atmosphere and facilities of IIM Lucknow. The focus at is not the number of courses you teach or the number of management development programmes you take or the hours you teach per day but on the holistic development of the faculty member where he is given ample scope to network with his peers, participate in and create seminars and programmes, undertake research activities, create case studies. So I am not really expecting any impact on us.”