IIT Delhi students, teachers march against faculty quota

July 5th, 2008 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Defending the autonomy of world-class institutes of excellence, nearly 200 students and professors of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D)Saturday night staged a candlelight march to protest the government’s direction to reserve 49.5 percent of faculty positions in IITs for socially backward classes. The protest, which started a little after 8 p.m., continued for an hour with 45 professors and more than 150 students holding candles and walking around the IIT campus. The “silent protesters” said they were against 49.5 percent quota - 27 percent for other backward classes (OBCs), and 22.5 percent for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes - in the IIT faculties.

“In world-class institutes, you cannot introduce faculty quota. Is the government trying to reduce the value and position of institutions like IITs?” asked Abhijeet J., a student.

“In the name of reservation let’s not compromise with quality. The faculty quota cannot be implemented…please,” he told IANS.

“Quota for students can be understood to some extent but not for faculties. Top institutions’ autonomy needs to be respected and preserved,” said Rohan Paul, another student.

The 45-member faculty delegation led by M. Balakrishnan, dean of postgraduate studies and research at IIT-Delhi, expressed their dissatisfaction over the human resource development ministry’s move.

Another student said autonomy was snatched away from almost all Indian institutions of excellence.

“And the final nail in the coffin came in the form of the draconian directive of implementing reservations in IIT faculties,” said a participant.

The protesters said the IITians wanted to initiate an “organized struggle against the government’s caste-based reservation policies”.

The students also said that similar protests were carried out in Bangalore and Mumbai.

Currently India has seven IITs and three more will be operational during the course of the year.

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