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Tapping the IIT graduate student body to teach undergraduates may be a win-win solution
The IITs are the proud centrepiece of our public educational system, but it is a truth long acknowledged that they struggle against the same limits that other institutions do, including qualified staff shortages. Constrained for resources and adequate faculty, the IITs may be contemplating a system where their postgraduate and doctoral students teach undergraduates. The IIT council will discuss the proposal next month. Given the serious shortage of teaching staff, and the cumbersome recruitment process, it makes sense for these schools to look within and fill their own needs.
This move fits in with the pattern at many research universities, where a graduate student often teaches introductory courses or becomes a teaching assistant for undergraduate courses. They are likely to be paid a stipend for their work. Given that many of these doctoral students will seek professional employment in universities, this provides them with a valuable apprenticeship opportunity. Currently, they have little exposure to their roles as future faculty. It may also allow classes to be taught in sections, with greater attention to individual students. Academic inputs from young, professionally focused graduate students could also, hopefully, inject more dynamism into teaching. BITS Pilani has already experimented with teaching assistants, and IIT could use these learnings, if the plan is implemented.