It’s a campus that exhibits a high degree of activism, be it political, social, academic or co-curricular. The fact that Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is a hub of intellectuals is reflected through the tradition of healthy debate among students.
Offering mainly postgraduate programmes, keeping research as the core of the academic activity, the university has 10 schools and three special centres with courses in visual and performance studies, diverse areas of biotechnology, computer science, linguistics, historical and political studies, and law and governance, among others.
The university also has a diverse mix of students - both national and international. “The best thing about JNU is that it allows you to revolutionise yourself. I have learnt a lot during my stint here and couldn’t have asked for a better place to study in,” says Souphaphone Thavonsouk from Laos, a student of international relations.
The trend is likely to continue this year too as the university prepares to hold entrance tests to its various full-time programmes of study next month.
The USP of the university, according to some of its teachers, is its unique and unconventional style of teaching. “With regular tests, seminars, term papers and end-semester exams, students are evaluated round the year. Pursuing a particular programme is not just about mugging up lessons. It involves giving complete freedom to the students to interact with people and read as many books as they want to. In a way, it prepares them for courses such as MPhil and PhD,” says Dr Asif Zahri, associate professor, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies.
The syllabus for a particular course is also evolving, unlike other institutions. “At JNU, the teacher concerned structures his/her own course. Courses are updated every five to 10 years. Also, a large number of courses that are taught here are not taught anywhere else in the country,” says Dr Sanjay Kumar Pandey, associate professor, School of International Studies. In addition to this, every centre holds extension lectures as well as national and international seminars regularly.
Students here are also sensitive to global as well as local issues and are socially aware.
Arvind Das, who holds a PhD in Hindi from JNU, says, “I liked the culture of debate at the university. It was not just about pursuing your degree. JNU teaches you a lot about life and the world around you. It makes you more mature, inquisitive and changes your perception to many things around you. Most importantly, the university is a democratic space and with all the centres being within the same campus, there’s a lot of peer group bonding with students from other disciplines too.” Retaining the spirit of the interdisciplinary character of the university, the courses are structured in such a way that in addition to the prescribed compulsory courses in the discipline concerned, the students are encouraged to opt for optional courses from other centres/schools.
For Dibya Shikha, a research scholar in South Asian Studies at the School of International Studies, the university is part of her being. “JNU is about fulfillment of dreams and hopes. The learning takes place not only in classrooms but also in canteens, dhabas and at bus stops through debates and discussions. The gender sensitive cell against sexual harassment, curb on ragging, and a campus with minimal security issues, no restriction on mobility in the campus 24X7 make JNU incomparable,” says Shikha.
Besides these, there are various cultural clubs dedicated to areas such as music, photography, fine arts, cinema, and social issues. They organise or collaborate with relevant institutions for activities like social campaigns or competitions.
The university provides students the perfect setting for pursuing their academic dreams and ambitions.
Established in: 1969
No. of schools: 10 and three special centres
No. of hostels: 17
Important dates: The university will hold entrance tests for its various full-time programmes of study from May 22 to 25, 2012
JNU entrance tests
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