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The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay is planning to start a mandatory course on caste awareness. The decision to start this caste and racial sensitization course is taken by the SC/ST cell active in the institution.

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.

These surveys focused on understanding the issues and difficulties students have to face due to caste division. The surveys also enquired students about their opinions on holding more sensitization events and the introduction of 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 told The Indian Express, in a written statement.

The SC/ST cell recently organised an open house discussion regarding the challenges faced by the students. Multiple participants came forward with their ordeal. It was observed that the students belonging to the categories were subjected to taunts pertaining to the reservation of seats, which sometimes 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. Last year, the institution launched a mandatory gender sensitisation course.

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