File photo of JNU administrative building.
File photo of JNU administrative building.

JNU scholars demand more time to submit their theses, dissertation

The University Grants Commission (UGC) on April 29 extended the submission deadline of all terminal research scholars till December 31.
By Fareeha Iftikhar | Hindustan Times, New Delhi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 02, 2020 09:03 AM IST

Research scholars of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have been demanding at least three to six-month extension for the submission of their dissertations and theses citing the fact that their research work got disrupted due to the prolonged closure of educational institutes in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) on April 29 extended the submission deadline of all terminal research scholars till December 31. Earlier, the scholars had to submit their MPhil and PhD work in July. However, the prescribed period, scholars said, was not sufficient as the university continued to remain physically closed since March due to which they could not access resources, and carry out fieldwork. While JNU had last month allowed phased-entry of final-year PhD students studying science courses as day scholars, those staying in hostels and enrolled in other courses are still not allowed to return to the campus.

An MPhil scholar, having a partial vision disability, said that she has been stuck at home in Haryana since March and has not had access to any assistive device required to complete her research work. “It’s impossible for me to complete my dissertation without assistive devices. The UGC extension has not helped us since the situation remained the same between May and December, and the campus is still physically closed. Now only science students have been allowed to return back to the campus. What about us? We can’t submit trash in the name of dissertation. We need an extension,” she said.

Sunny Dhiman, a PhD scholar, said that he won’t be able to complete his thesis without travelling. “Students currently staying in hostels are not allowed to go out officially. I had to travel to Punjab for my research work and it could not happen because of the pandemic. We had sent a memorandum to the administration on Monday on behalf of 80 students facing similar issues,” he said.

An MPhil student from West Bengal, requesting anonymity, said that he could not even access the online study material due to limited internet connectivity. “I can only afford to use 2GB data daily, which me and my sister use. Besides, my fieldwork was in Seelampur, Delhi. How is it even possible for me to complete my dissertation sitting here?” he said.

The JNU students’ union (JNUSU) has also alleged that they have been writing to the administration demanding an extension, but there has been no response. Students’ union president Aishe Ghosh said, “We had recently met UGC officials and they asked us to talk to our administration. But despite several attempts, the administration has not responded to our emails. We are receiving extension requests from hundreds of students on a daily basis with many of them saying that they are on the verge of dropping out because they could not complete their work. I also have my MPhil submission on December 31 and I need more time to complete it.”

When contacted, JNU registrar Pramod Kumar said, “We are concerned about our students and we have already written to the UGC, seeking permission for the extension. We will again send a reminder to the UGC on Wednesday.”

JNU teachers’ association (JNUTA) on Tuesday also wrote to the administration requesting an extension for research scholars. “We would like to inform the administration that giving an extension to the research scholars is well within the power of statutory bodies of the university and does not require going to the UGC.”

Meanwhile, JNU on Tuesday issued a new notification allowing MPhil and MTech final year students only from science schools and centers return to the campus who have to submit dissertation and thesis before December 31. The university has still not allowed students of other courses return to the campus.

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