The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union on Sunday wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, urging him to facilitate a phased return of students who are “not being allowed” to come back to the varsity. The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had advised students to return to their homes in March after the commencement of the lockdown and closure of all universities.
“However, the manner in which it was executed by the JNU administration was not the best. JNU is a residential campus and anyway accommodates teachers, staff, and administrative officials. But the university hurriedly sent people home irrespective of whether they wanted to go or not. Since then, it has been a tale of woe for the students,” the JNUSU said.
It said that with the closure of the university, research scholars across disciplines are “unfairly curbed of uninterrupted internet facility, access to libraries, archives, laboratories and needless to say, the fieldwork amidst the ongoing pandemic”. It consequently translates to the jeopardising of research work, if left administratively unattended, the letter added.
“Keeping in mind the plight of final year students who are to submit their thesis on or before December 31 as per the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines, it is of utmost importance to let the final year students come back into the campus on priority basis to facilitate the resumption of their research work,” the JNUSU said.
The UGC-NET is scheduled to be conducted in September and a significant number of students have opted for centres surrounding the National Capital Region (NCR).
“The strict non-allowance of students back into the campus hence poses an alarming concern,” it said.
A lot of students were stranded inside Delhi-NCR because of various reasons and put up in temporary arrangements for the time being, the JNUSU said.
“They have written countless letters to the JNU administration urging relaxation but have been refused irrespective of humanitarian needs,” it said.
The JNUSU suggested that a protocol be developed to initiate a phased return of JNU students into the campus starting from stranded students, research scholars and other students facing difficulties and wish to return.
The re-entry of student backed by the COVID-19 safety protocol – medical screening followed by a 14-day self-isolation – additionally was also proposed by the Mehrauli Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) in a letter dated May 15.
The Delhi University, University of Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay have already evolved plans for a similar return of students taking suggestions from their task forces by prioritising ‘senior PhD students’ and others who wish to return, it said.
They also cited the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order dated August 29 regarding phased reopening, technical institutes and higher educational institutions for PhD research are allowed to recall students.
“In this circumstance, JNU should be facilitated to recall its research scholars in a phased manner,” the JNUSU said.
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