IITs urge PM for exemption from caste quota in faculty

August 26th, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) All the 13 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to exempt them from having to implement quota in their faculty, drawing parallels with the government departments of atomic energy and space science.”All the IITs want formal exemption from implementing quota in appointment of faculty, like in the space and atomic energy departments,” IIT-Guwahati director Gautam Barua told IANS by phone.

“Since the last 46 years, both the above departments have been exempted from quota in the appointment of scientists and we were in the same bracket too till recently,” Barua said.

“But since it has been pointed out that the IITs are not immune to faculty reservation, I personally conveyed to the prime minister today about the problem,” Barua added. “We want the government to formally announce exemption to us for better educational quality at the IITs.”

The human resource development (HRD) ministry directed the IITs in June to implement the 27 percent quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 15 percent for Scheduled Castes and 7.5 percent for Scheduled Tribes in their faculty.

The decision came after the 27 percent quota for students was implemented, albeit partially, in all central government-aided higher educational institutes this year.

When the direction for implementing quota in faculty was passed on to the IITs, the premier engineering institutes expressed their displeasure by holding protests on the campuses.

At least three IITs, including IIT-Delhi, held candlelight marches to express their dissent over the HRD ministry direction.

“The sanctity of the IITs needs to be preserved to ensure quality education,” Barua said, adding, “There is no discrimination or groupism within the IITs. We need to preserve this character.”

Barua said he had personally told the prime minister about the issue when he visited the campus Tuesday and was given the assurance that it would be discussed with his cabinet colleagues.

“He assured that he would take up the case in the cabinet and the IIT standing committee would also take note of it,” the professor said quoting Manmohan Singh.

The prime minister, who was at the IIT-Guwahati campus Tuesday for a function, touched upon the issue during his speech.

“The IITs have served our country with great distinction. I take note of the point that Prof. Gautam Barua has made with regard to the reservation issue. I take that with me and will bring it to the notice of my cabinet colleagues,” Manmohan Singh said while addressing the students and professors there.

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