Bring back JNU’s time-tested admission policy: teachers body

THe JNUTA has passed a resolution demanding immediate restoration of JNU’s admission procedures. File

THe JNUTA has passed a resolution demanding immediate restoration of JNU’s admission procedures. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu photo library

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on Wednesday expressed concerns over the university’s reliance on the National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct admission tests and demanded that JNU’s own time-tested admission procedures be restored.

In the general body meeting (GBM), the JNUTA passed a resolution stating that repeated delays by the NTA in conducting admission tests have resulted in serious disruptions in teaching and learning at the university.

“The situation seems to have worsened this year with no clarity yet on when admissions will actually take place and when classes will begin. The GBM demands that the university withdraw from the agreement with NTA and immediately restore JNU’s admission procedures and institutional structures such as the Standing Committee on Admissions,” the resolution passed by the JNUTA read.

In 2019, during the tenure of former Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar, who is currently the Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), JNU did away with conducting subjective exams for admissions and started admitting students using the computer-based JNU entrance examination conducted by the NTA.

CUET-based admissions

In March this year, the UGC Chairman announced the introduction of the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) conducted by the NTA and said it was mandatory for all Central universities to use CUET scores for undergraduate admissions. He also said that ultimately CUET-PG scores will be used for postgraduate admissions as well. JNU announced that it would switch to the CUET mode for admissions to all undergraduate and postgraduate courses as mandated by the UGC.

Students and teachers at JNU feel that many unique features of the university such as its admission procedure, election to its students’ union and institutions like the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) have been diluted due to the interference of the UGC and the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations to adopt a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Former JNUSU president N. Sai Balaji, who is currently a PhD scholar at the university, said every institution and university in India was built with a specific purpose.

Like the IITs were set up for quality undergraduate education, JNU came up with the purpose of producing quality research scholars. “The admission procedure, deprivation points and progressive institutions like the students’ union and GSCASH were evolved so that those students who were excluded from other education systems would somehow make it to JNU and not be left out. The moment you remove such institutional systems, you are telling students that they will not receive any help from the top any more and it is better to give up,” Mr. Balaji said.

He added that an objective-type entrance test excludes those who are not familiar with using computers and promotes a culture of rote learning as the question paper is no longer subjective.

‘Drastic impact’

JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh said the “BJP-RSS”, while taking steps to restructure Central universities through examination pattern and instructional bodies such as GSCASH and students’ unions, “has in many ways destroyed the already existing progressive policies in many Central universities such as JNU”.

“While making a universal policy on gender sensitisation bodies, rather than upholding the already existing progressive body like GSCASH, it bulldozed it with a body like Internal Complaints Committee. Many such policies have had a drastic impact on the campus, taking us back several years. A lot of these policies were long fought through collective discussions and deliberations,” said Ms. Ghosh. She added that JNU as a Central university stood as a model for other varsities but by bringing it on a par with other institutions where such bodies or discussion don’t even exist, much of the progress made has been undone.

The JNUTA said the admission process to PhD programmes in 2022 has not even been announced and since the Draft University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022 permits universities to conduct their own admission tests, JNU should conduct it as soon as possible and stick to the academic calendar.

It also stated that all official processes required for incorporation of deprivation points in PhD admissions, as agreed upon by the JNU administration in a meeting held with the JNUTA on July 4, should be completed at the earliest.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 3:14:02 pm |