KOCHI: In a last-minute U-turn, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has dropped the plans to launch its Kerala centre, after making the students appear for its entrance exam and shortlisting candidates for personal interviews.
When contacted via phone, TISS assistant registrar (academic) Mustafa Momin told Express the institute has shelved the Kerala centre due to “various administrative reasons”. He asked this paper to contact TISS acting director Shalini Bharat for details. A mail to Bharat did not elicit any response.
The TISS told students in an e-mail the decision to drop the Kerala centre was “a difficult one but it was unavoidable”. The institute said it would reimburse the application fee.
The TISS had invited applications for ‘MA/MSc in Ecology, Society and Sustainable Development’ for the Kerala centre for the academic year 2018-2020 last November. A large number of students had applied and wrote the entrance exam ‘TISSNET 2018’ on January 6 this year. Several students were shortlisted for the pre-interview test and personal interviews to be held this month.
Institute ‘no’ to alternative
Students shortlisted for the Kerala centre said they are “disappointed” the TISS was not offering seats at its other centres as an alternative. In a communication to students, the TISS ruled it out, saying “this is not possible”.
Announcing the Kerala centre last year, TISS course coordinator Jyothi Krishnan had said the focus of the course was on the Western Ghats, given the fact that students could do field study in Idukki and Wayanad.
“We would like to convey the Kerala centre has not been closed, but the MA programme has been withdrawn,” said Jyothi in a text message.
Students are not amused. “I was shortlisted for pre-interview test and personal interview at TISS Mumbai this week. Now, all of a sudden they are informing the decision to cancel the course,” said Abin Alex (name changed).
“I had made a thorough preparation for the interview and had booked the ticket to Mumbai in advance. On March 2, I received an e-mail stating they are urgently withdrawing the course due to administrative reasons. And I had left with no other choice but to cancel the train ticket to Mumbai. Now I’m upset as I did a lot of hard work for the past one year preparing for the TISSNET exam and finally when got shortlisted they are withdrawing the course,” said another student.
Students shortlisted said they are “disappointed” the TISS was also not offering seats at its other centres as an alternative. “TISS is offering similar courses, MA/MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development at its Mumbai centre, and Climate Change, Environment and Sustainability Studies in Guwahati. They could have offered seats for the candidates shortlisted for the Kerala centre in Guwahati,” said one student.
In a communication to the shortlisted students, the TISS ruled out such an alternative saying “this is not possible because applications can be considered only for centers/courses to which one has applied”.