A shocking sight awaited the administration of the Sardar Vallabhai Patel International school of Textiles and Management (SVPISTM) in Coimbatore on Friday. Students who should have been studying textile management in classrooms, were busy washing clothes at the entrance of the institute.
This act, a sign of protest against the institution, has come on day 5 of the students' ongoing agitation. What began on Monday as a demonstration against the Dean and security guard for allegedly verbally abusing three female students, has now catapulted into a larger agitation.
Students who are pursuing their BSc, PGDM and MBA in the institute claim that they do not have the qualified professors, facilities or placement that the institute promised.
Sardar Vallabhai Patel International school of Textiles and Management is an autonomous institute set up by the Union Textile Ministry.
"We are washing clothes here to show the government that this institute has not taught us anything," says Uttarakannan, a second-year Postgraduate Diploma student of the institute. One look at the college website is enough to prove our allegations are right, say students. Of the 12-permanent staff listed, only the Director and one associate professor have experience related to textile management.
In addition to this, students claim that the companies that recruit them offer a maximum remuneration of only Rs 12,000. "We decided that we don't need a diploma or degree to earn that amount. We will probably earn more if we wash clothes for a living," Uttarakannan claims.
The management, however, dismissed the charge, when contacted on Wednesday. The Director, Dr Rameshkumar, told TNM that salaries offered to students range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 45,000.
The students have also demanded that the 77-year-old Dean of the institute Perumalsamy be removed from his post. "We have written a complaint about him to the Director. He abuses students who try to point out the problems in the institute," claims Uttarakannan. "The Director has however taken no action," he alleges.
Dismissing the students' charges against the Dean, the Director told TNM: "The Dean is just a bit strict and so the students are saying this. They must have not understood his Tamil slang because they are north Indians. He has been instrumental in streamlining the curriculum and improving the infrastructure."