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Students, teachers protest TISS’s refusal to renew temporary teacher’s contract

Sanober Keshwar, the teacher in question, had been teaching at the institute for the past seven years.

TISS, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, TISS protest, TISS online campaign, Sanober KeshwarAccording to Keshwar, the students, professors and management of TISS are progressive and encourage radical thinking.After Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) refused to renew the contract of a teacher, who was a temporary staffer, the institute has drawn flak from students, alumni and fellow professors who have now started an online campaign in her support.

Sanober Keshwar, the teacher in question, had been teaching at the institute for the past seven years.

“Students or teachers who promote critical thinking are considered a threat,” said Keshwar, who refused to comment on the termination of her contract.

“I have no complaint against TISS or its management. The bigger problem is the increased vigilance over educational institutions,” she said.

According to Keshwar, the students, professors and management of TISS are progressive and encourage radical thinking. “I was content with my job at TISS because the company I got was intellectually stimulating,” she said.

“However, over the past two years, the academic space has been shrinking. Anybody who has radical ideas is being watched, quite unobtrusively,” said Keshwar.

She said the vigilance was not limited to TISS alone. “The vigilance is not by the management of the institutions but by powers beyond.” She added, “I have been an activist since I was a student. My radical ideologies are no secret to anyone.”

Keshwar said she enjoyed engaging in dialogues with students and professors, even if she did not agree with their views.

“We need to learn to be tolerant of others’ views and coexist in the mosaic of views,” said Keshwar. She also raised the issue of job security of teachers who worked with institutes on contract basis.

“There are several teachers who work on contract. The larger issue is to provide some kind of security to these teachers,” she said.

S Parasuraman, the director of TISS, said, “If professor Keshwar thinks institutes are being watched, it’s her opinion. All institutes are supposed to encourage critical thinking and that is what we do.”

About the termination of the contract, he said, “It is a simple administrative process. Too much has been made out of it.”

“A number of professors come on board on ad-hoc basis as permanent positions are not available but the institution is limited by fund crunch,” he said.

Parasuraman also said that the termination could have been because the dean of the school to which Keshwar belonged did not seek to renew the contract.

“The administration is aware when the contract ends, but the dean of the school has to contact the administration for renewal of contract,” he said.http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/students-teachers-protest-tisss-refusal-to-renew-temporary-teachers-contract-2848126/

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