TWO MONTHS after the University Grants Commission (UGC) breathed new life into three centres of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), a new decision has brought back the fears of shut down of the centres. In a notice issued earlier this month and uploaded on the UGC website last week, the apex body has informed institutes that the schemes under its 12th Plan are to be continued only till the end of September this year.
Referring to an order from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the UGC notice read: “All the ongoing schemes of the UGC under the Plan Head would continue up to 30.09.2017 and expenditure therein would be admitted up to 30.09.2017. Their further continuance beyond 30.09.2017 would depend on the outcome of the review by the UGC.”
The notice once again raises questions over the future of three centres of TISS — Centre of Excellence for Human Rights Education, Advance Centre for Women’s Studies and Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies.
The centres funded under the schemes of the UGC’s 12th Plan were granted extension for a year on March 30 this year following students’ demand. Teachers, too, were reinstated for a year.
TISS Director S Parasuraman admitted the recent notice has caught the administration unawares. “We had been told by the UGC that the centres would get a year-long extension. However, I received a notice on Tuesday that says the extension is till September,” said Parasuraman. “We were not prepared for this sudden decision. The administration will now consider its options and take an informed decision,” he added.
In March, the institute had issued termination letters to around 25 teachers associated with the three centres. Following the extension to the centres, the teachers were retained and several students admitted this year too. Parasuraman said the institute will make sure the admitted students complete their course.
The institute said it had not received the extension for funding of the centres funded by the UGC. When the UGC granted an annual extension to the centres on March 30, the institute decided to reinstate teachers on the basis of a performance review. Of the 25, all but one teachers were reinstated.