In 1986, TISS set up a Student Services Cell with financial assistance from the then Ministry of Welfare, GoI, to assist SC and ST students in improving their academic performance and optimising their personal and social development. In 1988, the Institute obtained the approval of the UGC to set up a Special Cell for SCs and STs, which began functioning from 1989.
The 1998 UGC Guidelines directed all educational institutions and Universities receiving grant-in-aid from the UGC to establish Cells not only for the SCs and STs, but also for Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Persons with Disability (PWD), and religious minorities. The purpose of these Cells was to help the University/Colleges/Institutions concerned implement the reservation policy with regard to admission of students, as well as recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff at various levels. With a view to accommodate all this under one umbrella and for better coordination and functioning, the Social Protection Office (SPO) of TISS was established in 2012. The SPO was managed by a faculty member designated as Liaison Officer-cum-Dean.
In 2018, based on meetings with the National Commission of Scheduled Tribes, the Institute decided to divide the work of the SPO into two different Cells, viz., the SC/ST Cell to deal with the issues of the SC and ST students, teaching and non-teaching staff, and the Equal Opportunity Cell to deal with the issues of OBCs, Religious Minorities, PWD, Kashmiri Migrants and kin of Armed Forces.
The two Cells have a common Standing Advisory Committee, but function under their own exclusive Liaison Officers (LOs). Both these Cells deal with the issues and concerns of students and staff belonging to the SC, ST and OBC categories in all Campuses of TISS. Each Off-Campus has a faculty nominated as the Convener of the SC/ST Cell and EO Cell, who works in coordination with the LOs of the SC/ST Cell and EO Cell at the Mumbai Campus.
With the active support of Cells (Social Protection Cell, as known earlier) every year TISS organises a one-day Pre-Admission Orientation Programme (PAOP) for reserved category candidates to succeed in the TISS' Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission. The PAOP is conducted not only in Mumbai campus, but also in other campus of TISS. Free board and boarding facilities are provided to those outstation candidates attending the PAOP in Mumbai or in Guwahati Campuses. In the PAOP for 2018 admission, over 518 candidates from all over India took part. During this period, faculty members are engaged in orienting the candidates about the variousaspects of admission process. The Students' Union and student volunteers are involved in organizing the PAOP. A training video entitled “With You” is used to help candidates face the Common Entrance Test (CET), Pre-Interview Test and Personal Interview effectively. Feedback from the candidates has revealed that the TISS' PAOP is beneficial not only for admission in TISS and such other institutions and universities, but also for getting employment.
Along with the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), the Social Protection Office has been participating in Post-Admission Orientation programme for both general and reserved category students since long, and the same continues as one of the activities of SC/ST and EO Cells since 2018. These orientations emphasize both academic and non-academic aspects of life in TISS, particularly stressing on the need to value and be sensitive to the multicultural and multilingual environment of TISS. The Cell also organizes language proficiency classes for students who require it.
Enabling SC/ST and OBC(NC) students applying for GOI-Post Matric Scholarship and Top-class scholarship is part of regular activities of the office of the SC/ST and EO Cells. The Cells also facilitates the process of securing other scholarships for students who are not eligible for GoI-PMS such as Ishan Uday for North-Eastern Region, Scholarship for Persons with Disability sponsored by NHFDC, Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme for Single Girl Child, PG Scholarship for Professional Courses for SC/ST, PG Merit Scholarship Scheme for University Rank Holders at Under Graduate level, Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for SC/ST, Maulana Azad National Fellowship for Minority and Post-Doctoral Fellowship for SC/ST from UGC for M.Phil./Ph.D. Scholars. The Cells oversees the admission process and extends support to the Admissions Steering Committee at the Institute level to ensure smooth implementation of reservation policies as well as represent in selection panels for administrative as well as academic positions. In the year 2017-18, a comprehensive review document was prepared at the behest of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes to capture the processes of implementation of reservation polices by the institute.
Prof. Avathi RamaiahLiaison Officer, SC/ST Cell
Dr. Alex AkhupLiaison Officer, Equal Opportunity Cell
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