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3-min read

TISS Guwahati Remains on Boil as Protest Over Permanent Jobs, Quality Education Enters Day 3

The tussle between the main centre of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the members of Guwahati campus began two days ago when the students and 14 faculty members on contract went on mass leave.

News18.com

Updated:April 3, 2019, 11:50 PM IST
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TISS Guwahati Remains on Boil as Protest Over Permanent Jobs, Quality Education Enters Day 3
File photo of students protesting at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Guwahati (News18)
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New Delhi: The TISS Mumbai administration on Wednesday sent a notice to scores of students and teachers at its off campus in Guwahati for boycotting the 2019 admission process over the demand of regularisation of contractual staff and improving the quality of education.

The protest in the campus today saw the police entering the campus and disrupting the assembly of peaceful student and staff protestors.

The tussle between the main centre of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the members of Guwahati campus began two days ago when the students and 14 faculty members on contract went on mass leave over the issue, prompting Mumbai headquarters to take action. Sources said that the issue escalated to such a level that police had to be called in on Wednesday.

Signed by the registrar, the notice read that it was brought to their attention that a group of students is “obstructing the ingress and egress of prospective candidates and their parents/guardians who have come to attend the Pre Interview Test and Personal Interview.” The notice has issued a warning to students if they fail to refrain from creating obstructions the “Institute will be free to take action as deemed fit.”

The boycott was decidedly halted till the April 3. But the admission process is to go on till April, 4.

Some of the contractually employed faculty members have been working at TISS Guwahati since 2013. According to the students in the Off campus center there were verbal assurances given by the then Director of the Institute regarding the regularisation of their services – and considering the service period as probation among other promises. “But, in reality, their working condition has only deteriorated ever since,” allege the students in a statement.

Assuring a solution, the TISS Director Shalini Bharat promised to raise the issue at a GB meeting on April 2 in TISS Mumbai, where the Deputy Director of Guwahati campus Kalpana Sarathy attended as representative.

Whenever the issue of regularisation of job was raised, “the response has been one of platitudes, and verbal assurance without any concrete offer,” allege the students in their statement.

Background

The student body of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati issued a statement, in which they mentioned, they boycotted the ongoing process of admission interviews on 1st April 2019 alongside the 14 faculty members who had taken a mass leave in protest during this time.

The leave application that the faculty members on contract have applied for, coincided with the PI and PIT for incoming students, “It is to bring to the notice of those in authority that these issues need to be addressed at the earliest, and also to appeal that these issues need to be taken with the seriousness that they deserve, before taking a new batch of students into the campus,” said the student’s statement over the issue.

The complaint is that the 14 members of the teaching staff out of 25 have been hired and kept on whimsical contracts which have been continually fixed by the TISS administration for the past six years. "This is not limited to the teaching staff alone, as the non-teaching staff of the campus does not have a single permanent employee,” said the statement.

This is a long battle of the students and faculty of the off campus centre - they have been approaching the Mumbai administration as it holds central power but returned disappointed.

The student in the statement pointed out that the crisis was brewing for a long time and came to erupt only when faculty members on contract applied for mass leave. “The faculty members on contract have had to face only humiliation”.

There has been more than one instance in which their salaries have not been paid on time. In almost every instance, they were not even informed about the impending delay in advance.

Demand of students and teachers

A letter was sent to the Director in the first week of February requesting “There should be a minimum of 3 years’ contract period;” “Those on consolidated salary should be immediately given pay scale salary”; and “The increments due to the contract faculty members should be immediately paid.”

The worried students said, “There is not a single permanent non-teaching staff in Guwahati campus. The dining hall staff are not even given a contract letter. They work overtime without any monetary com-mensuration.”
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