‘Upper Caste Clubs’: Why Are SC/STs Missing from IIM/IIT Faculty?
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
There are no Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribe faculty members in 12 out of 20 Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) in India, according to the response by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal in Rajya Sabha in November. The 12 IIMs include two of the top IIMs – Ahmedabad and Kolkata. The remaining 8 IIMs have just 11 SC/ST faculty members.
When it comes to IITs, as per data available upto January this year, SC/STs account for less than 3 percent of all faculty members.
Author and US-based academic, Suraj Yengde, said, “The Indian Institute of technology and the Indian Institute of Management, one of the crown jewels of India's education system are not only upper caste clubs but they are oppressive caste spaces for people who do not belong to the General category, who are Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs.”
According to provisions in the Constitution, all government institutions are mandated to provide 15 percent reservation for scheduled castes, 7.5 percent for scheduled tribes and 27 percent for other backward castes (OBCs).
The DoPT, the nodal central government agency on matters related to reservation, had in its 1975 order sought to exempt scientific and technical posts from the reservation policy.
Siddharth Joshi, IIM Bangalore doctorate alumnus and researcher who had co-authored a paper with IIMB Professor Deepak Malghan on caste bias in IIMs, said, “In 1975, exemption was given to IIM Ahmedabad by the Department of Personal and Training as far as reservation in faculty positions was concerned. While IIM Ahmedabad had expressly sought this exemption, other IIMs just assumed that they've also got exemptions and not implemented reservations in their faculty positions.”
‘Lack of Sufficient Talent Pool’
Joshi said, “What we found, as we note in our paper, is that at the time (2017), one-third of the faculty of all IIMs was drawn from their own doctoral programme. Which means, one-third of the faculty members were trained by IIMs themselves.” But IIM Ahmedabad refuses to follow the reservation in its doctoral programme. When it comes to IITs, the argument on lack of merit have been similar. Bringing in an analogy of quota system in cricket and other sports in India, IIT Delhi Professor M Balakrishnan in a paper on OBC reservations argued and I quote, "I can confidently say that any ranking of quality of undergraduate engineers produced would put IITs in the top 20 worldwide if not in the top 10. And it is this achievement that is going to be hard to maintain with the proposed reservations policy."
The IITs have mostly been providing reservation to Dalits, tribals and OBCs in faculty hiring but only at the entry level — assistant professors. The government has directed IITs to implement quotas in senior faculty posts as well.
Modi Govt Sends Directive to IITs, IIMs
The MHRD, in a clear directive on 21 November, asked IITs to implement quotas in senior faculty posts in the core technology stream. A similar notice has been issued to the IIMs as well, which the ministry said "supersedes all previous orders". The management institutes have been directed to abide by the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers' Cadre) Act passed in March 2019.The act provides for reservation for SC/STs, OBCs and EWS candidates in direct recruitment of faculty by clubbing vacant posts of the same rank across all departments in an institution. The IIMs have been asked to create a roster and proceed with hiring accordingly.
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