The protest against hostel fee hike by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University has reached an unprecedented stage, with students of 14 Centres deciding to boycott their final semester examinations. The decisions were taken in the Centres’ general body meetings (GBMs), the JNU Students’ Union said.
More Centres and Schools will hold such meetings in the next two days to decide their position on the examination boycott. This comes after a call was given by the JNUSU as part of their “total non-cooperation” with the university administration over the issue of hostel fee hike.
If all students boycott their end-semester examinations, it would be a first. Former JNUSU presidents confirmed that an exam boycott had never taken place. CPM leader Prakash Karat, who was JNUSU president in 1973-74, said, “There were no exam boycotts in the 1970s. Don’t think later too. Exams were not held because of closure of the university by authorities in the 1980s.” JNU was closed sine die in 1983.
According to JNUSU vice-president Saket Moon, Centres and Schools which have decided to boycott exams include the Centre for German Studies; Centre for Korean Studies; Centre for Japanese Studies; Centre for Political Science; Centre for the Study of Social Systems; Centre for Historical Studies (CHS); Centre for the Study of Regional Development; Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies; School of Arts and Aesthetics (SAA); Centre for Russian Studies; Centre for Persian and Central Asian Studies; Centre of Indian Languages (CIL); Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health; and Centre for Study in Law and Governance.
“More Centres and Schools will hold their GBMs in the next two days. There is no Centre which has decided against the boycott, as yet,” said Moon.
In some of these Centres, exam dates have already passed, with nobody sitting for the exam. However, with the JNU administration announcing that end-semester exams should be held between December 12-20, Centres have either rescheduled or are planning to reschedule the exams to fit the given dates.
Amrit Raj, JNUSU councillor from SAA, said, “In our school, exams for MA and MPhil were supposed to begin on November 22. The dates have already passed and no one sat for the exam. Even MPhil and PhD synopsis presentation have been boycotted.”
A PhD student from CHS said the same. “Our MPhil, PhD synopsis presentations were to be held on November 25-26, which were boycotted. Also, the MA exams were scheduled to begin on November 30, for which students did not sit,” she said. However, a faculty member said the exam was postponed as per the new schedule.
An MPhil student from CIL said, “Besides exams, neither class tests nor seminars are taking place. We will not cooperate till there’s a complete rollback.”
The JNU Registrar did not respond to calls and messages seeking a comment.