In T5E’s latest series, correspondents have a closer look at the institute’s ‘PoR Culture’. This five-part series, based on extensive interviews with the PoR-holders across different verticals in the student body, tries to identify the factors that drive the craze for PoRs in the institute.

In Part 3 of the series, Sharayu Shejale examines whether PoR teams are inclusive – for instance, is the system equally accessible to postgraduates and women?

Read on to find out more!

While a lot can (and has been said) about the workings and the types of PoRs available in the institute, an important aspect of this PoR culture is how inclusive it is.

 

Postgraduates and their participation in the PoR System 

Postgraduates usually tend not to take up PoRs and remain substantially less in numbers as compared to undergraduates in the PoR scene. Reasons for this include a lack of time, enthusiasm (‘feels’), and awareness about PoRs. Some PG students may also be reluctant to work under people who are younger to them.

However, large PG participation is seen in the RSD and the DMC. In fact, DMC faces a dearth of UG participation and they take up initiatives to get more undergrads involved. Some PoRs have systematically built in PG participation such as the Placement team (under the RAS) and the SLC (Research legislators, legislators from PG hostels, MTech legislators). A difference in participation can also be seen between the MTech/MSc students and PhD scholars.

Owing to the short duration of their course, MTech/MSc students are reluctant to take up responsibilities apart from academics. On the other hand, PhD scholars have more time on their hands to explore the extra-curricular and co-curricular spheres, and hence take up more PoRs. An interesting observation is the amount of dedication and enthusiasm that the PG students show towards the PoRs that they take. More often than not, the PoR does not lend itself as a CV point for a a career in research and academia, and PG students take up the PoR for its own sake. This is helped by the fact that it is easier for PG students to skip a few levels of hierarchy and be selected directly as a Super-Coordinator or a Core, as they are seen to be more experienced and mature.

Female participation in the PoR System

Another facet of inclusivity is female participation. There is a general consensus that all PoRs are open for everybody, and that girls don’t really face discrimination during selection or otherwise. The disproportionate number of girls holding PoRs is attributed to the skewed gender ratio within the campus. However, there are some structural impediments that make it more difficult for girls to participate fully. For instance, the girls’ hostels are located away from the rest of the hostel zone, where all the activities, meetings, and events take place. Furthermore, they are not allowed entry into the boys’ hostels beyond a certain time, and there are very few 24-hour common facilities (such as CFI).

Nevertheless, there are workarounds to these constraints, and the team does adopt them. Also, some girls with conservative families may be unable to regularly go out on team outings and other such bonding activities, as they may not be able to justify it to them and get permission for the same. Additionally, more girls apply to a particular team/position if there is already a girl in a position of authority.

Stay tuned for the final segment of the series! Write to us at t5e.iitm@gmail.com for any suggestions, clarifications or feedback.

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