CONTENDING THAT the situation with regard to the extension of contracts at all campuses of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was the same as at TISS Guwahati, over 27 faculty members of TISS Mumbai and 16 faculties of TISS Hyderabad on Tuesday expressed solidarity with protesting members of the Guwahati branch of the institute.
As many as 14 faculty members of the Guwahati campus had announced a mass leave from April 1 citing non-extension of their contracts.
“Some teaching and non-teaching staff have not yet received their contracts, and those who have, have been given only one-year extensions. This is not a new situation. Many faculty members, who have been here for many years, have been at the receiving end of such absurdly short-term contracts, which imply that their tenures in the institute are lesser than those of the students they are supposed to guide and teach,” said a letter by the faculties at TISS Mumbai.
The faculty members have demanded that the TISS administration ensures that all faculty, who have not yet received renewed contracts for the period beyond March 2019, be given extensions immediately. They have also demanded that all contract extensions currently issued for one year should be at least revised to three years to five years, pending eventual regularisation of all existing contracts.
“As fellow academicians and colleagues, we understand the difficult circumstances within which this decision has been taken. The overall academic and infrastructural crisis at TISS — irregular contracts, pay disparities, irregularities in salary disbursal, lack of compliance with 7th CPC, and academic understaffing — has resulted in faculty operating in a highly uncertain and precarious environment,” stated a letter from faculty members of TISS Hyderabad.
After a meeting of the institute’s governing board and other stakeholders at its Mumbai campus Tuesday, TISS released an official statement stating: “The issue of contract for temporary faculty was presented by the deputy director (of) Guwahati in the governing board today. The board was aware of the need of longer tenure for academic positions and re-iterated that the feasibility of this should be examined further and worked towards by again pursuing the matter with UGC and the funders. We have already extended contact up to March 2020.”