From crèche to equal opportunity at work IITKGP offers it all to its women workforce

On this Women’s Day the female workforce at IIT Kharagpur will have a reason to cheer.
Answering their long standing demand the institute has finally set up a crèche cum day-care center within the campus to ensure the kids are looked after even when their mothers are away and busy with their teaching and research activities.
“In 2013 when our current director Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti joined office he had a meeting with all the female faculty members. It was there that this idea of having a crèche was mooted. The final proposal was submitted in 2015 and it took almost a year to make preparations to start the crèche- day care centre. Finally, now we have the facility up and running,” said Prof. Sanghamitra Basu, Chairperson of the crèche management committee and a faculty member of Architecture and Regional Planning department.
A bungalow inside the IIT-KGP campus has been renovated and remodeled into a crèche. Mongrace Montessori House from Kolkata is running the facility, which is equipped to take care of children aged anywhere between six-months and ten-years. The fully air conditioned facility is has all Montessori equipment's, a play area, toys, cots, activity area and even a computer lab for the wiz kids!
Chandrani Singh, professor of Geology and Geophysics department finally has stopped worrying about her 4-year-old daughter Archisha. “Now I can work peacefully knowing that my baby is in safe hands. We often have to stay back till late because of meetings and research work. Though I had a nanny but there would be days she would not turn up disrupting my schedule, also she might not want to stay back for extra hour. This facility has now come as a big relief for the working mothers on campus,” she said.
The facility has a day care center, a crèche and a Montessori school and currently takes care of 53 children. “Post maternity leave when I joined work my baby was only five-month old. Knowing that the nanny may not be the best caregiver for him I had no option but to keep Aarohan at home and take classes. Now he is 3-year-old and I have shifted him to the day care facility. It was definitely one of the most needed thing for the working mothers on campus,” said Professor Indrani Sen from  Metallurgical & Materials Engineering department.
There are several hundred women working at IIT-KGP, including faculty members, research scholars and official staff. “We have ensured that the facility has the recommended teacher-student and teacher-caregiver ratio. And the fee too is competitive raging between Rs 1200 and 3200 per month apart from onetime charges,” Prof. Basu said.
The facility opens at 7.30 AM and remains operational for 12-hours. “My husband is a faculty at Visva Bharati University and I am a research scholar here staying alone with my 6-years-old son Devansh. It is not always possible for the family members to be on campus to look after the child. So when they had to be away I had to bunk classes to ensure that the child is fine. But now that has changed,” said Sasmita Mishra, a research scholar at the geology department. “Now my child goes to the day care center immediately after his school is over. I can concentrate at my studies without worrying about him,” she added.
Contributed by Mou Chakraborty