THE University Grants Commission (UGC) has given extension to the three centres of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which would have otherwise closed from April 1, much to the relief of the institute’s administration and students. But the fate of the teachers associated with the centres remains uncertain. “The UGC has decided to grant year-on-year extension. We now have extension for the year 2017-18,” said S Parasuraman, director, TISS, who met UGC officials on Friday. “We are yet to receive a written confirmation but the officials told me that the centres can continue,” he added. The UGC decision comes over a week after the TISS administration issued letters to around 25 teachers from the three centres — the Centre of Excellence for Human Rights Education, Advance Centre for Women’s Studies and Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies — that their contracts would be terminated after March 31 as the UGC had not granted extension to the centres.
Though the centres are safe for another year, whether the teachers, or how many of them, will be reinstated is unclear. The three centres have around 25 teachers. “We hope that all the teachers are retained,” said Parasuraman, refusing to comment further. On Saturday, the teachers were relieved from service and their official email addresses were discontinued. The recently-formed teachers’ association will now write to the institute’s administration seeking an explanation on the matter.
The three centres were funded by the UGC under the 11th Five Year Plan and later granted a five-year extension in the 12th Plan. Parasuraman told the Indian Express that the institute had not received any funds for the payment of salaries and other operating costs of the centres for the past one year. Moreover, a cashflow deficit of Rs 5.11 crore had made things worse for the institute. “We are in no position to run the centres on our own,” Parasuraman had said.
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