New Delhi: There are only 11 faculty members belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) categories in the country’s 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), the government informed Parliament Thursday.
Earlier this week, the Narendra Modi government had asked all Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and IIMs to implement reservation in teaching positions.
All government institutions are mandated by the Constitution to provide 15 per cent reservation for SCs, 7.5 per cent for STs and 27 per cent for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The Parliament data also stated that among the top three IIMs — Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore — only the Bengaluru-based school has one faculty from the reserved category. The IIMs in Kozhikode, Shillong and Jammu have two faculties each from the SC/ST communities. Those in Sirmaur, Rohtak, Udaipur and Lucknow have one faculty each from the reserved category.
Welcome change, say alumni and academics
Academics and alumni from the IIMs, who have earlier raised the issue of reservation while hiring teachers, feel this new directive will bring a positive change and diversity of castes in the premier institutions.
Dipak Malghan, an associate professor of public policy at IIM-Bangalore, had published a paper on social inclusion in the elite management institutions in 2017. Co-authored with researcher Sidhartha Joshi, the paper argues that “diversity deficit at IIMs is a ‘wicked problem’, but one that should not be wished away”.
“It is a good thing that the government has issued such a directive, but I hope that the IIMs follow the spirit of the order and recruit people accordingly. What the government has done is signal a normative intent, we need to follow it intelligently now,” Mahalgan told ThePrint over phone.
“IIMs have been citing a 1975 order by the ministry of education (now the Ministry of Human Resource Development) to IIM Ahmedabad, where they told the institute to not give caste-based reservation. They have been openly defying constitutionally mandated reservation till now.”
Some other IIM alumni and faculty members ThePrint spoke to also said that deficit of caste diversity in the institutions has affected teacher-student interactions.
“IIMs have a huge diversity deficit, and it manifests in teacher-student interactions. Some teachers have bias towards students from the reserved category and at times it comes out very strongly. They create a line of discrimination — reserved category students are non-meritorious and non-reserved are meritorious according to them,” said an IIM alumnus, who did not wish to be identified.
He also detailed how people at IIMs often judge those from the reserved categories on “the basis of how they speak, dress, whether they are able to speak good English or not”.
Dheeraj Singh, an alumnus of IIM-Calcutta, who had advocated for a non-discriminatory environment in the institutions during his student days, said, “Even institutions like IIM-Calcutta did not have a very conducive environment for students from the reserved category. Me and some of my other batch mates had to fight to create awareness, we also did counselling of students.
“In the lack of faculty from reserved categories, students from the same category sometimes miss a role model to look up to.”