IIT dons try Gandhigiri, teach on empty stomach

Govt poking its nose into all issues, allege protesters


 “Most of the 450-odd faculty members of IIT-Madras joined the fast today though teaching was not affected,” Prof M Thenmozhi, president of the IIT faculty association, told Deccan Herald here.

“This is not a strike and no work has been affected, even as our fast is a part of an all-India action plan by the faculty of all the other 12 IITs,” she said.

Thenmozhi, who is also the president of the All-India IIT Faculty Federation, said it (federation) had sought a joint meeting with the ministry of human resources development (MHRD) and directors of all IITs to sort out issues at the earliest.
Apart from pay anomalies, what bugs them is the “contract system” proposed by the MHRD for post-doctoral fellows appointed as assistant professors.

“Why introduce the contract system when appointments on a regular basis have served well?” Thenmozhi wondered. The faculty federation is also opposed to the proposed 40 per cent cap — that only 40 per cent of the faculty members will be eligible for the academic grade pay of Rs 12,000 under the performance appraisal system.

She clarified that the federation was not against performance parameters but that it was opposed to the 40 per cent cap when it should be open to all teachers.
Some professors who did not join Thursday’s “fasting and teaching” by the academic staff nonetheless said they agreed to the demands of the faculty federation.
“If assistant professors come into the IIT system on contract, more persons will have to follow suit. But if you want to nurture excellence, you need to have a regular system,” said a professor at IIT-Madras who did not want to be named.
He said the MHRD was “poking its nose” into issues it knew very little about, and added that the proposed contract system did not necessarily help in improving the quality of teaching or research.

“We are upset that the MHRD had not looked into these issues... it is unfortunate that we need to ask all these things,” Thenmozhi remarked.

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