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100% weightage to interview for admissions to mphil, phd: Amid protests, JNU clears all items on its agenda

The meeting venue was changed at the last minute, with the JNU Teachers’ Association alleging the V-C was scared to face “his own students and teachers”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 4, 2017 1:47:30 pm
JNU, Jawarlala Nehru University, JNU executive council, JNU protests, JNU interview, Mphil, Phd, JNU phd interview, JNU Teachers’ Association, Delhi news, indian express news Students protest in JNU on Tuesday. (Source: Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Executive Council (EC) of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Tuesday passed with dissent, all controversial agenda items which teachers and students had been protesting over in the last few days, including giving 100 percent weightage to interview for admissions to MPhil and PhD, and giving the vice-chancellor power to intervene in appointing experts for the selection committee that appoints professors.

“The JNU EC meeting successfully and peacefully concluded and all agenda items of the AC meeting were passed,” said Rector Chintamani Mahapatra.
The agenda items had earlier been “passed” by the Academic Council (AC) on December 26 according to the administration, a claim refuted by 34 AC members, and students, who demanded that the meeting be reconvened. Angry students on Tuesday encircled the VC when he left the EC meeting, shouting slogans of “JNU VC sharm karo”, and halting his car’s movement for about five minutes before he got away.

The meeting venue – earlier the convention centre – was changed to the Administrative Block, moments before it was scheduled to begin, drawing ire from the JNU Teachers’ Association which said it was “shameful” that the VC was scared to face “his own students and teachers”, who had been protesting at the venue.

“Massive number of students gathered and started protesting. To avoid any untoward incident in light of recent events (where students had entered a meeting venue), we changed the venue,” university officials said.

Sources said there were four dissents, but all agenda items were passed including the adoption of the UGC gazette notification of May 2016 which makes interview the sole criterion of admission to MPhil/Ph and making entrance just a qualifying exam. Teachers and students have been protesting against this saying it opens up possibilities of discrimination. JNU as of now follows a 70:30 formula of written test and interview.

The notification also dictates the maximum number of research students a faculty member can guide, irrespective of whether they teach BA/MA courses. In JNU, where there are very few BA classes, teachers say such a fixed number makes no sense, and would mean a drastic reduction of intake in MPhil/PhD.

The agenda on the VC being able to intervene in selection committee experts was also passed. Teachers and students have been contesting this saying the Centres and Schools have “domain knowledge” of their subjects, and that the VC was getting “too much power” by this move.

Addressing these issues, a university official said, “There’s a lot of misunderstanding with regard to the UGC notification; many people don’t know that it is mandatory. JNU will go put forward its apprehensions before the UGC and try to convince them that we have longstanding admission procedure and it has been successfully conducted over many years… This is not an issue between administration and students, or administration and teachers. This is an issue between JNU and UGC, and we will try to represent our case with UGC. Now JNU will ask the UGC for the right or freedom to do some necessary modifications in the interest of the students and teachers.”

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