TERMING the stagnation of funds and grants from the government as one of its weaknesses, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences has said that such a situation affects the promotion of “public education ethos”.
In a self-study report submitted to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the social sciences institute in Mumbai has categorically stated that stagnation of funding from the government is a major concern and weakness of the institute.
It made the observation as part of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges (SWOC) analysis. This “does not help to promote the public education ethos,” the report says.
Accordingly, the self-study report lists “tapping external environment (state and establishment) support for social science education and research and sustaining the expansion and retaining the quality” as a major challenge.
TISS, one of the top deemed universities, has had to struggle this year to meet its expenditure needs, including payments to staff, with a cut in funding from the government. In an interview to The Indian Express in June this year, TISS Director S Parasuraman had also said that it was the responsibility of the government to support public institutions with adequate funds so that it is possible to offer quality education in social science.
“Yet another challenge that we face as an institute of social science is that of emerging contexts of private and foreign universities in the Indian higher education system with higher resource capabilities. We, however, have many strengths that we can further build upon. This includes interdisciplinary curriculum building in social sciences, curriculum designing and enrichment based on multiple consultative processes that build on insights from field and research, academic flexibility to continuously evolve curriculum, research recommendations developing into field action projects or action taken by the state or establishment and internal and external reviews for strategic management. We have listed them all in our report,” said a senior faculty member.
Limited availability of plan positions in teaching and non-teaching staff, slow progress in endeavours to transform the research system to the global standards and identifying the labour market opportunities for the newly established programmes are some of the other weaknesses enlisted by TISS in the report submitted last month.
While TISS was awarded a five-star rating by NAAC in 2002, it was re-accredited in 2009 and placed in Grade ‘A’.
The assessment outcome is valid for five years and institutions can subsequently volunteer for re-accreditation. Before applying for re-accreditation, institutes have to submit a letter of intent, followed by institutional eligibility for quality assessment and then a a self-study report.
The institute further says that while it has to cater to newer market needs of super specialisation and interdisciplinary education, it simultaneously needs to map “aspirations and aptitudes of the new generation” for developing socially relevant content, but “not so acceptable to market learning streams”.