A committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Education (MoE) to suggest measures for effective implementation of reservation policies in IITs has recommended that these institutions be exempted from following reservation policies in faculty recruitment.
The committee was constituted under the chairpersonship of the Director, IIT Delhi, and it had representatives from various IITs and the relevant ministries.
Ironically the committee formed to study the violation of reservation norms in IITs has requested the government to add IITs to the class of reservation-exempted institutions in the country. The recommendation was especially on exempting IITs from fulfilling reservation norms in teaching faculty recruitment. The committee has also blatantly lied about IITs following reservation norms in all academic levels (UG and PG). APPSC has repeatedly highlighted the severe violation of reservation happening in the IITs through data obtained by filing RTIs. Instead of highlighting wrongs in the existing selection process and recommending ways to correct those, the committee carries their casteist ignorance and leaves the blame on the candidates from reserved categories for not being ‘qualified enough’. There exists sufficient data to suggest that the lack of qualified candidates from the reserved categories was never a reason for their lack of admissions in Ph.D. programmes at the IITs. It is the cut-off mark that is used to deny entry to the eligible SC/ST/OBC students in campuses like IITs for years.
The Committee report further suggests improving the social representation at the Ph.D. level through a predoctoral training program of two years. The report specifies that there is no guarantee that all those who opt for a two-year training shall be selected to do Ph.D. at IITs. The solution offered and how the committee went about analyzing the problem shows the committee’s lack of seriousness towards the issue and the current changes in the education sector. In the typical colonial understanding of some communities lagging in time and training, they suggest that to come to equal terms with general category students, SC/ST/OBC students should get through additional training of two years.
In the recent National Education Policy (2020) government has scrapped M.Phil. level courses, and with the introduction of predoctoral courses, IITs will be pushing the students from SC/ST/OBC into a black hole where there is no future and job opportunities. APPSC fears that it will further reduce the number of students from these communities in the Ph.D. programs.
What IITs need to do is place stringent measures to fill backlog seats of SC/ST/OBC students and faculties, and to follow the reservation mandate henceforth.
APPSC demands the government to
- Reject IITs’ demand to be included in the list of reservation exempted institutions
- Device a clearly stated mechanism to fill the backlog seats
- Remove the cut-off from the admissions and follow the reservation mandate
- Release a proper notification of the Ph.D. positions and its category-wise distribution in the departments
- Publish the list of selected candidates and category wise breakup
- Make Government of India mandated SC/ST and OBC observers in the selection panel compulsory for Ph.D. and other interviews
- Implement the provisions for CEI Act, 2019 in IITs faculty selection without any further delay
- Don’t accept the recommendation of the predoctoral training program for SC/ST/OBC students
- Make functional SC/ST/OBC student cells in all IITs and make them oversee the violation in reservation practices