“Ten years ago, TISS had two campuses, Mumbai and Tuljapur. Now they have four campuses. Earlier, the institution had only two schools with eight research centres. Now it has 10 schools and over 30 research centres. The expansion has been phenomenal, but has occurred too suddenly and too frequently, in the absence of adequate infrastructure. In some campuses, the library is overcrowded and students have no place to study. Often four students are crammed in a hostel room for two. In one instance, a student fell off the top of a bunk bed in the absence of railings,” says the review committee member.
The committee also dealt with funding. “TISS gets its funding from both the Tata Trust and the University Grants Commission (UGC). The rapid expansion resulted in a need for more teaching posts than UGC could sanction across campuses, with the result that many of the posts were funded by the Tata Trust with the hope that eventually UGC would sanction the posts,” says the member, who goes on to add that, as funds diminished, there was re-appropriation of funds from one head to another, with money meant for student scholarships used instead for teachers’ salaries. Reserved category students were also not getting the scholarship money allotted to them.
“We submitted a 35-page draft report in July 2014,” he added. A source close to the institution told TOI that the final copy of the report has not yet been prepared.
However, TISS director S Parasuraman told TOI the report would be out by the end of the month, and denied any attempts to squash it. “We ourselves commissioned the report so why would we want to suppress it? For each of our schools we chose the top academicians in the country for the review. The report was delayed as many of the people working on it were travelling across the world. We, too, have been asking for the report,” he said.
As for the report being critical of TISS, Parasuraman said he could not tell whether it was positive or negative as he had not seen it. “We did not ask anyone to write a glowing report for us. We wanted to know how we could better the institution. This was not a fact-finding committee but one comprising academicians who could reflect on the institution,” he said. Parasuraman said TISS was a government institution and anybody who wanted to know the status of the report could file an RTI.