Staff crunch plagues IIMC Delhi

Friday September 7, 02:46 AM

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) is facing a major staff crunch and has been functioning without a director for nearly three years now.
In an extremely stretched stop-gap arrangement, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has got one of its Joint Secretaries to hold additional charge as IIMC Director and the institute has hired a team of mostly ex-students as Academic Assistants and Coordinators to help share the burden of an understaffed and overworked faculty.
Under the I&B Ministry, the institute has managed to fill 10 of the 24 faculty positions with a core staff of just five professors. While the ministry has only recently kick-started the process of recruiting a new director, it seems to be in no hurry to fill up vacant faculty slots. IIMC is conducting interviews for only two or three positions and it is learnt that the response to the interview calls scheduled for this week has not been good. The IIMC Director’s post has earlier been held by the likes of Media Advisor to Indira Gandhi Sharda Prasad, former Chairman of Editor’s Guild M V Desai, UNESCO communication expert Lakshman Rao and others.
Joint Secretary in the I&B Ministry Stuti Kacker-who is also holding charge as Director IIMC-said the process to fill vacant positions is on but the ministry wants a “lean” faculty on the lines of the American model.
“A search cum selection committee is already on the job looking for a Director and we are in the process of filling up other positions as well. We are looking at the US model which has a lean core staff and a good back-up of visiting/guest faculty,” said Kacker.
IIMC with a list of some 150 on its guest faculty list hardly manages to get 15-20 of them regularly for its Delhi centre. The Dhenkanal IIMC centre in Orissa has just one Assistant Professor in charge and is bereft even of the privilege of a regular guest faculty.
“The autonomy of IIMC has eroded over the years. As many as six faculty members put in their papers last year because they were on contract and were not being regularized. Frustrated, they took up higher and better paying positions elsewhere. The ministry also insists that UGC norms be followed for recruitment but we don’t feel the need for a PhD for faculty members. The lean staff now left holds regular classes besides 35-40 short-term courses and practically little or no leave. Naturally, teaching quality is also affected in such a situation,” said a faculty member on condition of anonymity.
meanwhile, the Research department, Content Creation Project and Indian Information Service department are as good as defunct while the post of Professor, Hindi Journalism, has been discontinued.
Students in the latest batch, just a month into the session, are already worried.
“I have enrolled for Hindi journalism and it seems no one is very interested in the course. We just have a single faculty member. Let’s hope things will get better in the coming months,” said a student.
IIMC, meanwhile, nurses ambitious plans for the 11th Five year plan envisaging a university status offering undergraduate courses, restructured courses and a faculty of 64. IimcAlumniAssociation

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