Faculty shortage hits Computer Science

Poor response to mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering flows of students transitioning to computer science related courses has resulted in a severe shortage of qualified computer science teachers.

Colleges find it difficult to recruit new faculty members needed for computer science. Several colleges have started combining Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science courses in a new stream format as the existing Computer Science Engineering (CSE) is in high demand.

“Finding qualified teachers is a huge problem, given the shortage while good teachers are being stolen for better salaries,” the correspondent of a technical college agrees. All the seats of AI and ML stream have been taken at his university, but he now finds it extremely difficult to find teachers.

Seat Occupied Percentage

This year in Computer Science Engineering (CSE) 17,596 seats were filled out of 19,101, while in CSE – (AI & ML) 6,377 of 7,759 were filled. In Information Technology (IT) 4,872 seats were taken against 5,350 seats. The seat percentage in all computer-related courses is above 85%.

On the other hand, Electrical Engineering was chosen by only 2,991 out of 7,142 seats available at 41.88% and Civil Engineering was chosen by 2,391 out of 6,243 seats at 38.31%. Mechanically it was the hardest hit this year with only 28.18% seats occupied and just 1,663 seats away from 5,902. So the obvious shift was toward computer science.

How did the universities of applied sciences obtain permission for extra seats and new study programmes? An official explains that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has authorized new courses and additional intake based on what is uploaded on the university website rather than personal inspection. “It has been three years since there has been no inspection at all by the AICTE,” he said, seeking anonymity.

When JNTU-Hyderabad (JNTU-H), the affiliated university, refused permission for additional enrollment in these courses, some colleges even received a “favorable” order from the Supreme Court questioning the university’s role when the AICTE had them Allowed. However, the varsity moved the Supreme Court and received a suspension of the injunction stating that JNTU-H had the right to join after inspecting the facilities.

JNTU-H Vice Chancellor Katta Narsimha Reddy acknowledged the shortfall and said the varsity has enabled 1% of the staff to take interdisciplinary courses to remedy the shortfall. According to the first year syllabus, teachers of mathematics, physics and chemistry should suffice. “From the second year, they will study technical subjects and if colleges fail to recruit computer science teachers, the courses will not be extended,” he warned.

Director of National Institute of Technology (NIT) Warangal N.V. Ramana Rao advises colleges to send their staff for Faculty Development Programs (FDP) conducted by IITs and NITs to ensure they acquire the necessary skills. This is a rigorous program aimed at strengthening faculty skills in emerging technical fields, but teachers from Telugu states are refraining from participating. A senior professor said colleges were unwilling to send their teachers for FDPs, fearing that they would poach these skilled teachers through other colleges that offer better pay.

Telangana State Council for Higher Education (TSCHE) Vice-President V. Venkataramana said TSCHE has prepared a perspective plan to close these gaps in academics. TSCHE can partner with top universities like NTU, Singapore, MIT, USA or the IITs in India to bridge this gap.

Several online courses are offered by top universities of the world and varsities can utilize them by offering credits in these new areas of study. He recalls that IT Minister KT Rama Rao has declared 2019-20 the Year of Artificial Intelligence in Telangana and acknowledges the growing role of AI.

Dhanashri Etihsa Sharma
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