As the occupation of the Administrative Block by students over fears of massive seat cut in MPhil/PhD entered its fourth day on Monday, the vice-chancellor clarified that admissions to MPhil and PhD courses would depend on “vacancies”, which are linked to the “upper cap” on how many research scholars a faculty member can guide.
Calling the agitation “unacceptable”, he said if talks with students failed, the “law of the land” would take its course.
Anger has been growing within JNU over the impending seat cut as a result of the implementation of the UGC gazette notification of May 2016, with the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) organising a march to Parliament on Tuesday — a first in many years.
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Addressing a press at the Convention Centre on Monday, the V-C said, “All over the world, including India, in universities and IITs, PhD students can enroll only if there are vacancies. It is not a right that every student who is studying MA or MPhil can get into PhD. It is linked to the vacancies and vacancies are linked to the faculty numbers.”
“If it’s a lecture-based course like BA Programme or MA Programme, the number of seats are fixed. For MPhil and PhD, the seats are linked to the faculty who are present and their upper cap,” he added.
Kumar did not give exact figures on the number of vacancies this year. “The vacancy list is dynamic. It cannot be frozen. We will keep adding vacancies as and when MPhil and PhD students complete their thesis work. Their numbers will only go up rather than decrease, so there is absolutely no seat cut in MPhil and PhD. It depends on whether students are passing out or continuing for next year — then no new vacancies will be created.”
However, JNUSU general secretary Satarupa Chakraborty slammed the V-C and said, “The impending massive seat cut is not a figment of students’ or teachers’ imaginations. The administration itself sent circulars to all centres in JNU dated January 11, asking them to ‘recast’ their intake as per UGC notification.”
Calling the student agitation “criminal”, Kumar said, “We will try to engage with the students and try to convince them to come out of the blockade, but if they continue to remain adamant and continue to disrupt the functioning of the university, let me tell you very firmly that the law of the land will take its course. Nobody is above the law and nobody can take law into their hands. Preventing government officials from doing their duties, occupying a government building which has highly confidential material is a criminal offence.”