AMID UNCERTAINTY over the re-appointment of around 25 teachers associated with three centres of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), the students Tuesday raised their voices against the recent funds and seat cuts at the research centres by the University Grants Commission (UGC). The TISS students’ union, along with students from other campuses, started a postcard campaign against “fund cuts to centres of critical social sciences research” that are under review by the UGC. The plan is to send signed postcards with the students’ demands to the ministry of Human Resource and Development. “We have collected over 300 postcards with our demands clearly mentioned in them. We will now send the postcards to the MHRD and the UGC to bring our concerns to their notice,” said Rahul Adwani, president of the TISS students’ union. He said students from Delhi University will run a similar campaign on Wednesday and students from the University of Mumbai will also participate in the campaign.
One of the seven demands that the students have is that the UGC should restore and release adequate funds for all existing centres under the 12th Five Year Plan. They have also demanded the creation of an institutional mechanism to reinstate the faculty and staff at the centres. The campaign comes a day after the TISS director told the students’ union that the teachers will be reinstated, subject to their performance, after a review by the UGC.
Around 25 teachers from the three TISS centres — Centre for Women’s Studies, Centre for Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy and Nodal Centre for Human Rights Education in TISS —- who were relieved of their duties on April 1, are yet to be reinstated. “A very large section of students and research scholars will be directly impacted by the cutting down of funds and the possible closure of these centres that are specifically engaged with issues of social marginalisation, gender and human rights violations,” the TISS union has said. The student protest was also fueled by UGC’s recent move to cut down the number of seats for research in public universities.