In a bid to put an end to the ongoing attendance row in what is deemed as India’s top University, the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the University administration has made it mandatory for all its students to have minimum 75 per cent attendance in order to be eligible to take the examinations. A 10 per cent relaxation may be given to those who have justified medical reasons.
In a circular issued by Sajjan Singh, the Assistant Registrar (Evaluation), it is clearly stated that all the students of BA, BSc, MA, MSc, M Tech, the various post-graduate diploma programs, M Phil, and PhD along with all the different part-time programs would require to secure a minimum of 75 per cent attendance.
However, a 60 per cent attendance criterion has been mandated for those with valid medical reasons. It further added that the M Phil and PhD students who cannot be present due to academic work must have prior permission from both the supervisor as well as a competent authority.
This move, which demands a definite present in classrooms, has triggered yet another controversy with numerous students as well as teachers threatening to boycott their classes. On January 9, the present leader of Students’ Union, Geeta Kumari, met the vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar with a plea against the implementation of this new rule. According to her, if the rule is implemented, JNU will lose its essential academic freedom and the ‘academic culture’.
We tried to explain how students of the campus attend lectures not just in classrooms, but also at dhabas and hostel mess. Learning is a 24×7 process for JNU students, and as responsible adults students have never denied their responsibility.
Kumar, however, stood firm on his ground and said that this “attendance” rule was based on the academic ethos and culture of the Indian Institute of Technology and numerous other colleges and institutions follow the same. Hence, there is no way this new rule can be changed.