August 17, 2021 7:02:10 pm
In its Academic Council (AC) meeting on Tuesday, the Jawaharlal Nehru University passed the setting up of a medical school and super speciality hospital on the university campus. The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) has opposed the decision saying there was no “prior discussion” on the issue.
The AC agenda included approving the setting up of a medical school which would have programmes ranging from Bachelors to PhD levels and a 500-bed super speciality hospital. The university had proposed that they be set up in the 25 acres of land in the “southwest corner” of the campus at an estimated cost of Rs 900 crore.
“Academic Council unanimously approved, as per the provisions of JNU Act 1966, establishing a School of Medical Sciences and an attached hospital with broad and super speciality departments including supporting and non-conventional departments. This school will offer PhD, MDPhD, MD, MS, DM, MCh and MBBS degree programmes, with an emphasis on modern medicine integrated with traditional medicine and knowledge systems from humanities and social sciences. JNU has a strong tradition of basic and applied research in biomedical sciences, which will be integrated with the clinical research, giving a holistic perspective of the medical sciences,” Rector Rana P Singh said in a statement on Tuesday.
“No discussion was allowed and the matter was passed as it is. There are many questions about this medical school and hospital — which land will be used; how the money will be raised; and whether there is a need for it at all. None of this was allowed to be asked or answered,” said an AC member.
The JNUTA also mentioned the issue in a letter to Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan demanding the appointment of a permanent V-C. It has been over seven months since the current V-C M Jagadesh Kumar’s term got over.
The JNUTA said, “The 158th Academic Council meeting convened by the Vice-Chancellor today saw once again open defiance of several stated procedures. The meeting saw the Vice-Chancellor seek AC approval for the establishment of a medical school and a super specialty hospital within JNU, without any major prior discussion on the feasibility of such a programme among faculty belonging to the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health and other related Schools.”
As per the proposed plan, the hospital and medical school would need 259 faculty members. “To begin with, total faculty strength required would be…259 faculty members. Accordingly, the number of paramedics, technical, clinical, secretarial and supporting staff, etc, for various associated activities would be required as per the proposed centres and services in medical school and hospital. The salary and benefits of the faculty and staff are proposed to be equivalent to the AIIMS system,” the document said.
JNU said other important decisions were also taken during the AC meeting on Tuesday, including “approval of NCC as an Elective Credit Course with theory, practical and camps training spread over six semesters with 24 credits for NCC cadets”.
“So far, NCC was an extracurricular activity, but now this curriculum will provide an all-round education and personality development for NCC cadets. The UGC notifications on Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) and the exit option after four years of B.Tech in the five-year dual degree program of School of Engineering was also approved in the AC. This decision resonates with recommendations and spirit of the National Education Policy,” said Singh. However, an AC member said there was no discussion on these matters either.
“Several other academic courses in the various Schools of JNU were also approved, including courses in Kannada and Odia languages. The council approved the recommendations of the committee with regard to implementation of the National Education Policy,” said Singh.
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