Mumbai, June 30: Is education under threat at one of India's premier social science institutions? The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) finds itself embroiled in controversy as nearly 100 teaching and non-teaching staff members face abrupt termination, with their contracts ending today, on June 30. This decision communicated via termination letters sent on June 28, has sent shockwaves through TISS campuses nationwide. Previously supported by the Tata Education Trust, these staff members now confront uncertain futures, sparking outcry from student bodies and accusations of mismanagement under the current administration.

As reported by The Hindu, the mass termination at TISS has drawn criticism from the Progressive Students’ Forum of TISS, who have opposed this move. Critics, including the Progressive Students’ Forum, argue that these actions reflect a broader "anti-education" agenda perpetuated by the BJP government. This agenda, they allege, undermines academic freedom and threatens the livelihoods of dedicated staff members who have served the institute for years. The Forum contends that these terminations may pave the way for politically motivated appointments, potentially compromising TISS's longstanding commitment to academic excellence and social justice. TISS Suspends PhD Student Ramadas Prinisivanandan for Two Years Over Alleged Involvement in ‘Anti-National’ Activities.

Mass Termination at TISS Campuses

The decision has particularly impacted teaching staff across multiple TISS campuses, including 20 from Mumbai, 15 from Hyderabad, 14 from Guwahati, and six from Tuljapur, with permanent faculty members on the University Grants Commission (UGC) payroll unaffected, as reported by The Indian Express. The Forum has expressed apprehension that the abrupt dismissals could lead to an inadequate student-faculty ratio, potentially compromising the quality of education TISS is renowned for. As per the report, as of June 30, approximately 55 teaching staff and nearly 60 non-teaching staff who have been working for over a decade on a contract basis across campuses have been terminated. BBC Documentary Row: Tata Institute of Social Sciences Warns Students Against Screening ‘India: The Modi Question’ on Campus.

Amid these challenges, the Progressive Students’ Forum has called for urgent dialogue between the TISS administration, the BJP government, and UGC to reconsider these terminations or secure alternative funding solutions. They argue that the central government's decision to fully fund TISS as a public institution has exacerbated existing financial pressures, leading to delays in student aid and threatening the accessibility of higher education for marginalised communities.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 30, 2024 01:11 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website