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56% freshers from quota at IIT Bombay feel ‘discreet’ bias

The survey was conducted on first-year students who joined IIT Bombay in July 2013.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai | Published: May 8, 2014 1:50:59 am

A survey of first-year IIT Bombay students by Insight, the student media body in the Powai campus, reveals that an alarming 56 per cent of students belonging to various categories, like SCs, STs and OBCs, feel discrimination does exist in the institute, albeit in a discreet manner.

While an assessment of IIT-JEE results has shown success is skewed in favour of students with urban and high-income background, this is the first time an IIT has looked at the issue of biases and discrimination on the campus on the basis of region, language, caste, religion and category of the students.

While 69 per cent of freshers denied any caste discrimination, 28 per cent said it was there in an indirect manner while three per cent said they had witnessed it first-hand.

The survey was conducted on first-year students who joined IIT Bombay in July 2013. A questionnaire with 25 questions was sent online to them at their official IIT Bombay email address. The entire survey took a month.

“The campus attracts students from highly different backgrounds each year, which is why certain biases are bound to exist. Also, the transition to life in a big city like Mumbai and the IIT system can vary severely because of these biases. Hence, the primary motivation for undertaking this survey was to find out these biases and to look at whether the institute made any attempts to bring students at a level footing,” said Chirag Chadha, IIT Bombay student and chief editor of Insight.

The main difference among students of general and other categories, according to the survey, was not due to any negative sentiment, but because of the differences in their academic performance. Results show the average cumulative performance index of general category, OBC and SC/ST students is 8.09, 6.6 and 5.9, respectively. Further, 60 per cent of reserved category students said they experienced more academic pressure than general category students as they felt they “lag” the latter in academics.

“This was a demoralising factor that hit them hard when they got their results. The conclusion that can be drawn is that the discrimination against reserved category students is not direct and open, but indirect and discreet. The major disparity between students of general and reserved categories is the extra academic stress perceived by reserved category students,” said the findings, published in the Insight newsletter.

Roha mishap: Rly public hearing  on May 8-9  

MUMBAI: A public hearing by the Commissioner of Railway Safety into the Diva Sawantwadi passenger train derailment near Roha station on May 4, which claimed 22 lives and injured 124 passengers, will be conducted on May 8-9 at the Divisional Railway Manager’s office at CST.  Chetan Bakshi, Commissioner of Railway Safety (central circle), will be conducting the hearing from 10 am to 6 pm for passengers and victims on May 8 and for railway staff on May 9. Following the inquiry, CRS is expected to submit a report to the railways in a month. “The final report will be submitted in 180 days,” said Bakshi. ENS

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