Published: 17th February 2021
Not a single ST PhD student was enrolled in 9 IIITs in the past two years, reveals MoE data
The Ministry has provided the data for only 17 out of the 25 IIITs. Of them 9, IIITs haven't had any ST PhD student enrolled in 2019 and 2020
Not a single Scheduled Tribe PhD candidate was enrolled in 9 out of 17 Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) in the last two academic years, according to the latest data available with the Ministry of Education.
ABV-IIITM Gwalior, IIITD&M Kancheepuram, IIITD&M Kurnool, IIIT (PPP) Guwahati, IIIT (PPP) Lucknow, IIIT (PPP) Ranchi, IIIT (PPP) Nagpur, IIIT (PPP) Kalyani, and IIIT (PPP) Sri City Chittoor have not admitted a ST PhD candidate in 2019 and 2020. Six out of them haven't had any ST PhD student enrolled since 2017. IIIT (PPP) Una has provided the data only for 2020 and no ST PhD candidate was admitted in that year. Shockingly, it is also the case with IIIT (PPP) Dharwad, which hasn't had any ST candidate enrolled in 2018 and 2019, which are the two years for which data was available.
On February 4, CPM Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareem had asked the ministry for the total number of SC, ST and OBC students admitted to PhD programmes in each of the IIITs from 2016. However, the Ministry has provided the data for only 17 out of the 25 IIITs. Disappointed at the data and the rather sordid picture it paints, Kareem said, "This has been the case in all the premier insitutes in the country. The same applies in the representation of faculty too." As to the question of why the data from 8 IIITs was not disclosed, Kareem said, "I do not think that the situation is any different there either."
On the other hand, of the 17 IIITs, none of them have had more than 5 SC or ST PhD students enrolled in any year for which the data is available. In a rather unflattering parallel, last year, the data released by the MoE (then MHRD) showed that most of the IITs had not filled the reserved PhD seats — a finding that created an outcry. To look into this issue, the Ministry had constituted a committee headed by IIT Delhi Director Dr Ramgopal Rao, in 2020. While the committee recommended starting a preparatory programme for SC, ST and OBC students, it also suggested removing reservations while recruiting faculty.
Condemning the violation of reservation norms across IIITs, the Students' Federation of India (SFI) said that this was why there was a large disparity in faculty recruitments as well. The statement read, "The persistent violation of reservation norms in the nation’s premier technical institutions has contributed to the underrepresentation of teaching faculty from the marginalised and backward groups at the same institutions. This has proven to be a major hindrance in achieving an inclusive learning atmosphere."
Kareem, who is the Rajya Sabha MP for the CPI(M) from Kerala, in his question to Pokhriyal in Parliament, had also sought details about the initiatives taken by the government and the IIITs to train SC, ST and OBC students to help their scope of getting selected in PhD programmes. Responding to this, the Ministry said, "For the Centrally Funded IIITs, Government is providing financial assistance for payment of fellowship to the PhD students."