The Tata Institute of Social Sciences has gone on a spree of cancelling its academic programs and a centre after the recent protests from the student body. The idea of the Kerala Centre which was to become functional from the coming academic year has been dropped for now. The centre was to deliver a Masters in Ecology, Society and Sustainable Development for which the admission process was already underway.
Along with this, the school of Rural Development at Tuljapur has shelved the plan to offer a masters course titled – “MA/MSc. in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)” which was to be offered in collaboration with UNICEF. This course was to run along with the diploma course by the same name that is currently offered by the Tuljapur campus.
The applications were released in November, and the exam was held in January. The interview schedule was also declared when the above decision came on March 2 and 9, 2018 for Kerala and Tuljapur campuses respectively. The interviews were to happen around March 15 at the Tuljapur and Mumbai campuses.
The students were furious about the decision, and many questioned the delay in the announcement. Sagar, a student from Sangli who received the interview call mentions, “It is very insensitive to cancel the program just five days before the interviews were scheduled. We should be given a chance to sit for interviews for other courses the cutoffs for which we have cleared”.
Another student demanded her application be converted to the application for the diploma program and urged the institute to go ahead with the admission for the diploma. This has also impacted the final year bachelor’s students at TISS who were looking forward to a chance to continue and could not qualify for other courses, considering the low cutoff of the new course.
The Assistant Registrar cited “various administrative reasons” in the letter addressed to the students justifying the cancelling of programs.
Sources familiar with the situation at the Tuljapur campus say that the institute does not have the necessary faculty to run the WASH course, and the advertisements for the same failed to get suitable applicants.
The issue should also be seen in the light of the recent protests at TISS, where a large number of students objected to the maddening expansion at a time when it was struggling to pay the scholarships for the SC/ST students. If this is true, this change will be one of the many firsts that TISS will see after the protests.