IITs: Only 2% of the Faculty are SC, less than 1% ST

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On July 8, the government informed the Lok Sabha that of 6,043 faculty members at the IITs, only 2.46 percent are SCs and 0.34 percent STs. At the NITs, there are 9 percent SC and 3 percent ST faculty.

Saroj Kumar

On July 8, responding to a question raised before the government, the Union Human Resources Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ placed before Parliament information on the numbers of teaching and non-teaching faculty at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and National Institutes of Technology (NIT). They reveal the worrying realities of the state of recruitment of faculty from the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in IITs across the country. Of the 6,043 faculty members at the IITs, 2.46 percent are SC, and 0.34 percent are ST. The NITs fare somewhat better, but not by much.

The government has informed the Lok Sabha that of 8,846 sanctioned teaching posts at the IITs, 6,043 have been filled, while 2,813 posts, or close to 32% remain empty. Of the 6,043 filled posts, only 149 are SC faculty, and 21 are ST faculty.

While the NITs do fare slightly better on the representation of SC-ST faculty, they still fall far below the required percentage of reserved posts and are nowhere close to mirroring the percentage of SCs and STs in the nation’s population. According to the government’s figures, of 7,413 sanctioned teaching posts at the NITs, in which 721 are supposed to be reserved for SC faculty and 380 for ST faculty, only 4,202 posts are filled of which 404 are SC faculty and 139 are ST faculty. These figures amount to 9.6 percent representation of SCs and 3.3 percent representation of STs among NIT faculty nationwide.

The figures make it clear that these ‘prestigious institutions’ of the country are not inclusive of SC and ST faculty. Multiple instances of suicides of Dalit students at institutes such as the IITs have also shown their structural failure to cater to oppressed communities. The caste based harassment of Dalit Assistant Professor Subrahmanyam Saderla at IIT Kanpur had recently made headlines, in which four professors had been found guilty. The incident had exposed the attitudes towards Dalit faculty members among the teaching community at the IITs. It is clear that efforts must be made to improve the representation and security of faculty members from oppressed communities such as the SCs and STs at the IITs. However, this found no mention in the HRD Minister’s response, giving the impression that representation of oppressed communities in the IITs and NITs are not on the government’s agenda.

Meanwhile, at both the IITs and the NITs, the situation is better in non-teaching posts. At the IITs, where there are a total of 9,465 sanctioned non-teaching posts, which include 1,125 posts reserved for SCs and 520 posts reserved for STs, at present 888 SC posts and 275 ST posts are filled. At the NITs, there are 692 SCs and 317 STs among a total of 3,817 non-teaching staff members. There is a need to ensure representation of SC and ST communities in faculty positions too.

Translated from Hindi by Abir Dasgupta. Read the original Hindi version here.

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