IITs Ask to Be Exempt From Reservation for Faculty Hiring, Face Backlash From Student Groups
An eight-member panel comprising Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) directors and registrars and government representatives has suggested the institutes should be exempt from caste-based reservations for faculty hiring, according to a report submitted to the government in June 2020.
The panel, which the Ministry of Education had convened and tasked with planning implementation of reservation policies, instead recommended scrapping the requirement, citing a lack of qualified candidates from reserved communities. In its report, the panel notes the IITs are “institutes of national importance and are involved in research,” and therefore should be listed under (clause 4) of the CEI (Reservation in Teacher’s Cadre) Act 2019, for exemption from reservations.”
Currently, only eight institutes in India receive this particular exemption. If the IIT’s request is granted, this list will have 23 more additions. The report adds that these institutes’ Boards of Governors should decide whether, to what percentage, and which positions to apply reservations.
As an alternative to the first suggestion of complete exemption, the panel recommends that reservations should only apply to junior faculty positions (assistant professor) while more senior positions (associate professors and professors) should be exempted.
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The report is currently under consideration, according to what a ministry source told The Print. However, these recommendations have received strong backlash from student groups within the IITs. In a statement, IIT Bombay’s Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC), an anti-caste student group, says, “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. programs at the IITs. It is the cut-off mark that is used to deny entry to eligible SC/ST/OBC students in campuses like IITs for years.”
A member of the study circle told the Indian Express, “The committee report was not made public earlier. We got it only today after an RTI application was filed in UP. The committee has done the exact opposite of what it was appointed to do. It was supposed to address the violations of the reservation policies that we have time and again pointed out with data. Instead, it wants to do away with reservation for recruitment of faculty. This is like a person accused of violating a law asking for the law to be scrapped.”