Section of JNU students announce boycott of online classes, exams
A section of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students on Saturday announced that they will boycott online classes and exams until the administration resumed physical academic activities at the varsity.
The move is in continuation of the ongoing students’ demand for the phased-wise return of all hostel residents and resumption of on-campus classes.
The university on October 22 had announced that it will only reopen science schools and special centres in a phased manner from November 2 for final-year Ph.D. scholars and project staff, who require laboratory access.
The students at the centre for French students at JNU’s School of Language, Literature, and Cultural studies on Saturday wrote to their chairperson saying, “A vast majority of the students are unable to attend online classes and remotely access online resources. Most of them belong to socio-economically marginalised backgrounds. They are being excluded for no fault of theirs. To avoid further academic loss it’s imperative for us to return to the university….we, hereby, collectively decide to boycott all the online classes and evaluation, which is merely a formality with no real learning.”
Similarly, students of the centre for informal sector and labour studies at the school of social sciences released a statement demanding resumption of physical classes. “The academic loss has been enormous and we can no longer afford to miss out on classroom discussions, access to academic resources, research and other academic experiences...Hence, we request the phased return of all students along with the complete restoration of our hostel facilities,” the statement read.
JNU has been physically closed since March 13 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and all classes since have moved online. While a majority of students have vacated their hostels following the university’s order in March, some had stayed due to the suspension of inter-state travel facilities brought about by the Covid-enforced lockdown. The students have been demanding a phased entry for research scholars on the campus since July.
JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh said that more centres are likely to issue statements about their demands soon. “We want phased return of each and every student back to the campus. The students of all centres are conducting their general body class meetings and coming out with resolutions.”
A senior university official said that all students cannot be allowed to return to the campus as of now. “It will take some time to allow students to return to their hostels. We have started with science students and others will also be allowed. But it will take time. Students should refrain from giving calls for boycotting online classes,” said the official.