Admission to research courses at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) would be based on an interview from the next academic session, with the entrance test being reduced to a “qualifying exam” in which the student is required to bag a minimum score of 50%.
The academic council (AC) reportedly approved a University Grants Commission (UGC) gazette notification on eligibility and procedure for admission to M Phil and PhD courses on Monday, amid protests by students and teachers. “Candidates who qualify in the entrance test will be made eligible for the viva-voce or the interview. The final admission will be done on the basis of the interview,” JNU registrar Pramod Kumar told HT.
He admitted that students and faculty members have asked the university to write to the UGC, seeking clarity on the new system.
JNU officials said the new UGC rule will apply to all universities across the country.
Under the present system, students have to score in the written exam as well as the interview. “The weightage is 70% for the written test and 30% for the viva-voce,” an official said.
The move comes amid demands by its students’ union to decrease the weightage given to the interview. JNU students’ union (JNUSU) president Mohit Pandey said the move would change the character of the university. “Most students come from the marginalised and deprived sections of society. There is scope of bias at the interview level. We asked the university to reduce the interview’s weightage (from 30% to 15%) to ensure that no applicant faces discrimination. But what they have done now amounts to complete disaster,” he added.
However, AC members dubbed the university’s claim about passing the UGC notification as false because “no discussion had taken place” on the issue. “No such proposal was passed because the vice-chancellor did not allow members to speak. You cannot pass it without discussion,” said Jayati Ghosh, a member.
A statement from the university said the Monday meeting – where the decision was taken – happened after the AC meeting was adjourned on Friday. “The adjourned AC meeting concluded on December 26, and all the remaining items on the agenda were discussed and approved. The most significant among them was the adoption of the 5th May 2016 UGC gazette notification on admission procedures for various academic programmes and courses,” it elaborated.
The statement also mentioned a “handful of faculty members who tried their best to disrupt the meeting by constantly shouting” at the chairperson. “Somebody from this group called in students who were protesting outside the venue,” it said.
However, JNUSU said students entered the hall only after the meeting was over.