JNU attendance issue is a bid to curb its political activism

Feb 16:Since he assumed office in early 2016, JNU Vice-Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar has been at loggerheads with the University community. He has penalised students without any proper enquiries, fined scores of other students for raising slogans or protesting, for eating biryani or burning the Manusmriti, holding cultural programmes on May Day and so on.
He has shut down dhabas and barred students from protesting in the Administration block, our Freedom Square. He has tried to shut down research by undertaking a massive seat cut, sabotaged the reservation policy and scrapped "deprivation points" for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds in the entrance test. He closed down the progressive institution of Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH). In a nutshell, in his two-year long career, the V-C has sought to change the progressive and democratic character of JNU. His latest move to introduce compulsory attendance for every student from BA to PhD is perhaps the most dangerous. For an outside observer this imposition of attendance might appear just as another good policy of the JNU V-C to fix maladjustments in the university, like the dropout rates of students, but the contestation between the V-C and the students is the antagonistic worldview of democratic academic freedom.
The students of JNU believe in democratic and free academic research, very different from the V-C's notion of a disciplined and regimented, coercive academic exercise. The larger question is what should we as a society envision education to be like? Do we want our universities and educational institutions to be ruled by undemocratic heads with complete disrespect for academic autonomy?
For close to five decades now, JNU has never had compulsory attendance, for either BA/MA or M.Phil/PhD. In all these years, however, the University has delivered outstanding performances. Even after the Modi government came to power, JNU has ranked at the very top, in every report brought out by the ministry of human resource development.
The JNU administration is also trying to link compulsory attendance with fellowships and hostel facilities now. Let me explain how this move has the power to destroy the very democratic and inclusive nature of JNU that has been painstakingly built over decades.
Three features of JNU make it a unique institution. First, is the criticality that it cultivates in the minds of students and research scholars alike. Second, is its inclusive nature where students from extremely deprived backgrounds can come and study, because of the price factor as well as the progressive admission policy. Agencies
Source: Agencies



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