Jadavpur University students win, entrance exams restored
Agitating students and teachers of the arts faculty at Jadavpur University (JU) tasted victory late on Tuesday evening when the university authorities restored admission tests that were scrapped last week, leading to a marathon agitation on campus and outcry from eminent intellectuals and academicians.
Many people compared doing away with the decade-old examination system to moves made by the erstwhile Left Front government to influence the administration at JU and other universities in Bengal.
JU ranks fifth among the nation’s top 10 universities according to a 2017 survey by the Union HRD ministry.
The first official announcement on restoration of the old admission system was made at 8.30 pm on Tuesday after two marathon meetings of the JU executive council.
Interestingly, JU vice chancellor Suranjan Das and pro-vice chancellor PK Ghosh did not become party to the resolutions adopted by the executive council. This fanned ongoing speculations that they might put in their papers since Das had offered to resign earlier. “We will meet the chancellor. If we cannot run the administration properly we will step down,” Das said on Tuesday evening.
The admission tests were scrapped on July 4 allegedly under pressure from the Trinamool government because the official notice, announcing schedule of the written exams, was issued on June 27. Education minister Partha Chatterjee denied having any role in the fiasco but said two types of the admission system cannot co-exist in one education system. In most universities in Bengal, students are admitted on the basis of board exam results.
JU students however continued their hunger strike even after the exam system was restored in six departments of the arts faculty. The protest went on since the executive council did not decide whether the examinations would be conducted by JU teachers or an external body and left the matter to an admission committee comprising the registrar and the dean of arts faculty.
“This is the victory of JU’s heritage, its teachers and students. All this happened because a non-issue and made into an issue. The examination system has only elevated the standard of JU over the past decades,” said academician Anandadeb Mukhopadhyay, former vice-chancellor of Vidyasagar University and an ex-student and teacher of JU.
JU registrar Chiranjib Bhattacharjee said, “A female student who was on fast for 85 hour told us that the students were ready to face the consequences but would continue with the agitation.”
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