The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay intends to introduce a mandatory caste awareness course. The SC/ST cell in the institution makes the decision to start this caste and racial sensitization course.
The cell comprises Professor Bharat Adsul from the department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Professor Madhu N Belur from the department of Electrical Engineering, as the convenor and co-convenor. The SC/ST cell conducted a few surveys in the institution, based on which, the initiative to introduce the course is taken.
Focus on issues students face due to caste division
These surveys aimed to better understand the issues and difficulties that students face as a result of caste division. The surveys also asked students what they thought about holding more sensitization events and instituting a mandatory academic course on caste sensitization.
The intricacies of the course are yet to be established. The SC/ST cell is discussing the content of the course. In addition, the cell has also decided to introduce a mentorship programme. In the programme, the senior students at IIT Bombay will interact closely with freshers and junior students belonging to the SC and ST communities and ensure a discrimination-free campus.
“At IIT Bombay, it was observed more sensitisation events would enhance inclusivity and help reduce complaints. For example, increased awareness of caste-based and racist slurs that have entered into colloquial language would help eliminate such slurs and thus, improve cordiality in any environment,” the institution stated.
Open house discussion held
The SC/ST cell recently held an open house discussion about the challenges that students face. Several participants came forward to share their experience. It was discovered that students belonging to the categories were subjected to taunts regarding seat reservation, which occasionally triggered traces of self-doubt among students.
Now, with the introduction of the caste awareness course, it is expected that it will bring some clarity to the different mindsets that people carry about castes. In 2021, the institution launched a mandatory gender sensitisation course.