Published: 28th December 2020
IIT, IISER, IISc student associations condemn recommendation to exempt IITs from faculty reservations
In IIT Madras, only 2-3 per cent of the faculty are from the SC/ST categories and around 13 per cent from OBC, the student groups said
A group of student associations from scientific and technology institutes across the country have issued a statement condemning the Ministry of Education appointed committee that recommended IITs to be excluded from reservation in faculty appointments. The Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes’ Student Associations (COSTISA) has accused the committee of ‘blatantly’ lying about IITs following reservation norms at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
“The current government has been trying to remove or dilute the social justice policies at various levels – for example, EWS quota, failure to implement OBC quota for All India Quota medical seats, cutting funds for PMS scholarships, etc. Already, in 2017, UGC guidelines pushed for “merit-based selection” in student admissions in government institutions under ‘Institutes of Eminence’. Now, the recommendations by this committee, if accepted, will become a precedent to scrap reservations in all nationally important institutions in the name of merit and excellence,” COSTISA said in a statement.
The student groups comprising of the Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle, IIT Bombay, Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras, Confluence, IISER Mohali, Concern, IISc, Forum for Critical Thinking, IIT Kanpur, Science Education Group, IIT Kharagpur and the Students For Change, IIT BHU accused the IITs of campaigning against reservations in the name of ‘achieving excellence towards global rankings’. “In the short term, this global ranking is being used to incentivise various ways of commercialising Indian higher education for getting into the international higher education market. For example, while trying to avoid reservations for Indian students, these institutions are now targeting 20 per cent of their enrollment from foreign students charging very high fees. Also, in the name of financial autonomy for improving global rankings, these institutions are being denied government funds, steadily privatized and their fees increased,” the statement said.
The student associations accused IITs of keeping the campuses out of reach of common people. In IIT Madras, only 2-3 per cent of the faculty are from the SC/ST categories and around 13 per cent from OBC. Among the PhD scholars studying at IIT Bombay, only 1.6 per cent were from ST, 7.5 per cent were from SC and 19.2 per cent were from OBC. And not a single PhD scholar from ST was admitted in 11 departments in IIT Bombay for the last five years - the statement read.
The COSTICA made the following demands in their statement - Reject the recommendation to remove reservations in faculty appointments in IITs, reject the recommendation for the discriminatory pre-doctoral training program for SC/ST/OBC students, release proper notifications of the MS/PhD positions and category-wise distribution in various departments, remove the common cut-off for the MS/PhD admissions and fill the reserved seats fully including backlogs from previous admissions, publish the category-wise breakup for MS/PhD admissions ever year after admission, publish a report with data on what steps have each IIT taken to fulfill the reservation requirements so far, implement the provisions for Central Educational lnstitutions (Reservation in Teachers' Cadre) Act, 2019 in faculty selection immediately in all CFIs without any exception, device a clearly stated mechanism to fill the backlog seats in all CFIs, make Government of India mandated SC/ST/OBC observers to be in the selection panel compulsory for faculty appointment and other interviews in all CFIs, make functional SC/ST/OBC student cells in all CFIs and make them oversee the violation in reservation practices.
The students pointed out that there was sufficient data to prove that the lack of qualified candidates from reserved categories was never a reason for their lack of admission in PhD programme, “ Instead the committee blames the students from the reserved category by claiming “the enrollment of reserved category students in the PhD program being low” to be the reason for not enough qualified candidates in faculty appointments.”