Home » ‘IITs profiling its students by rank, caste for jobs’ | Mumbai News – Times of India

‘IITs profiling its students by rank, caste for jobs’ | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: An IIT-Kanpur alumnus has raised an objection against the premier IITs for alleged discriminatory practices during placement season. The institutes are profiling students based on caste data and JEE (Advanced) ranks provided in placement forms, alleged the alumnus, who recently set up a global alumni network to mentor and support SC/ST students.
He has now filed a complaint with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the department of higher education over students’ fears that profiling could lead to biases in the recruitment process. Placement interviews start December 1 across IITs, but the process has commenced.
‘Don’t reveal JEE ranks to recruiters, unless for quota’
Dheeraj Singh, alumnus and founder of a yet-to-be registered NGO, the Global IIT SC/ST Alumni Support Group, has said in his complaint that IITs are profiling SC students using placement forms. “Job aspirants at IIT-Bombay must mandatorily fill in caste category details. At IIT-Delhi, they also asked for JEE (Advanced) ranks. At Kanpur and Guwahati, they want these details in students’ profiles, and are facilitating recruiters who seek such information,” said Singh, adding it is a blatant attempt to discriminate against such students.
“We have several students’ testimonials on profiling done by the placement offices. Some have expressed fears that private sector companies might weed them out based on their category and JEE rank data,” said Singh. “If a student has scored a good cumulative grade point average after his four-year course, how is the JEE rank relevant?” asked Singh, who has written two complaints to the Commission.
National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) member Anju Bala said on receiving the complaint, they will send notices to the institutions.
A professor of one of the older IITs, on condition of anonymity, said caste details of students are disclosed only to PSUs which have quotas, not all recruiters. He said JEE ranks are optional and in many cases, students themselves are keen to put it out. Institute officials have not responded to the complaint.
A retired IIT professor, however, said it is common practice for recruiters to seek JEE ranks to gauge academic consistency. “It has been a practice for decades. I have known students who are from the general category who fail to land a job due to poor performance. And I have also seen students from the reserved categories who have done exceptionally well in their jobs or are entrepreneurs now,” said the professor.
The complaint said some recruiters too have sought JEE ranks of students, warning that it could lead to discrimination. The institutes should ensure that category and JEE ranks are not disclosed to recruiting companies, unless they are providing reservation benefits, said the complaint filed with the NCSC. It also demanded that placement offices should not make it mandatory for students to fill in category details unless the student is seeking a job in a PSU. Singh has also sought category-wise placement data to see if discrimination is prevalent.
An expert who works with institutes said some companies do seek academic track record, but selection cannot be based entirely on it. “There are higher education institutions, who give weightage to academic track record, right from class X and XII. Companies also do it. It is a common practice as the demand is always more than the supply, but when such sensitive data is sought, the intention behind it should be made very clear. These kinds of fear or allegations can arise if the data is sought without giving any clarity to the candidates. They should know if there will be any weightage or if it is a criterion for selection,” he said.
NCSC member Anju Bala said the commission will send notices to institutions or departments involved. “If students feel discriminated against, they can raise objections. And once the other party gives their response and the complainant is not convinced with it, both the parties will be called for hearing and a decision will be taken,” she said.