GS Academic Affairs PG Review: Shubham Badjate
The Institute General Body Meets (GBMs) are conducted twice every year with the intent to provide all students a convenient mechanism to provide feedback and address concern to the student representatives responsible for various amenities on campus.
The PG Academic Affairs 2014-15 GBM is scheduled from 8:30pm on 29th March in the IRCC Auditorium (SOM).
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A point by point analysis of the Manifesto can be found here.
This year, the GSAA’s tenure has had one major issue in the center-stage especially towards the latter half of the tenure – the stipend hike for PGs. There has been excellent progress on this front, with funding for almost all departments and programmes being secured. This issue was also well-publicised within the Institute, especially the peaceful protests that happened recently. The handling of this is seen widely as successful. The software workshops, widespread distribution of AAKASH tablets and ReSCon being conducted are also other highlights of the tenure. However, the magnitude of the stipend hike issue seems to have taken away attention from many things that were promised in the manifesto, of which most of the promises remain unfulfilled and some even unattended.
There has been a long-standing demand for the increase in stipend for Masters students and PhDs. The initiative for the demand was pushed by IIT Bombay, IISc Bangalore and ISM Dhanbad and was supported and publicised by the GSAA. Instructions were received from the HRD ministry to work with other IITs. A Student Working Group has been formed and contacts the ministry through the Director. The Group is in touch with some relevant bureaucrats as well.
There has been quite a lot of success on this front as notifications from almost every agency for increase in stipends have already been received. A signature campaign for the stipend hike was held in August and a follow-up peaceful protest was organized in February after a delay in the hike notifications by MHRD.
Some of the other major achievements of the GSAA’s tenure include
- Aakash tablet distribution: 6000 Aakash tablets have been distributed till now among PG students till the level of 4th year of PhD.
6000 Aakash tablets have been distributed till now among PG students till the level of 4th year of PhD.
- ReSCon: This was reinitiated after last happening in 2012. Its predecessor last year was RSAS. This time the department research conventions were also assimilated into ReSCon and hence, it saw a higher participation.
- Increased communication between students and the core council through AURAAs (Academic Unit Representatives of Academic Affairs): Previously it used to be observed that AURAAs were pretty inefficient, but this time there was higher penetration of AURAAs in the departments with information about workshops, events etc being more efficiently disseminated through these.
- Software workshops: Programming languages (Python, C, C++, etc) workshops and software (Matlab, LaTeX) workshops were organised in the tenure and saw a strong participation.
- The new PG academics website: To make the PGAC (PG Academic Council) more user friendly, the website was refurbished and a new website has been made.
While some major achievements have brightened out the atmosphere in the tenure, there seems to be excessive focus that has been given to a single manifesto point – the stipend hike – relative to the other ones. This has resulted in a very low completion rate for the manifesto points.(Check out the infographic below) One thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the extremely important place that the stipend hike holds amongst the PGs. However, while this did involve a lot of effort as the single most important issue, it has led to a lot of points being ignored.
There seems to be excessive focus that has been given to a single manifesto point – the stipend hike – relative to the other ones. This has resulted in a very low completion rate for the manifesto points.
Some long standing issues such as launching MTP and TA duty portal, and setting up late night canteen were important selling points during campaigning and the electorate wished speedy completion of these. However, the progress on these points has not been upto the mark and they still are far from completion. Industry-institute interaction, as promised in the manifesto, also couldn’t be established.
Some points in the manifesto also seem slightly ambitious and have been discovered to be infeasible in retrospect, such as updating course curriculum with latest developments, proposal to float project description before PhD admission etc. There were also a few points which could be considered to be out of the purview of a GSAA (‘Ensuring the smooth functioning of tum-tums’, for example).
Here’s a summary of the GSAA’s performance: