New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Student's Union (JNUSU) today submitted a memo to the Chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) against the seat cut in MPhil and PhD programs for the academic session 2017-18. The memo elaborates on the reasons why the seat cut must be revoked and says that the adherence to UGC guideline will be detrimental to JNU's autonomy and will be a massive blow to the University's socially inclusive admission policy which has evolved through years.
The memo said that first and foremost the seat cut has resulted in no admission in research programs in major centers such as Political Science, History, Center for Indian Languages and several other schools in this academic session.
Secondly, the seat cut is a direct violation of the 93rd Constitution Amendment which mandated expansion of seats for implementing OBC reservation during 2008-11. The memo says, "So, it would be a gross violation of the constitution and CEI Act 2006 if M.Phil./Ph.D. seats are reduced in the name of adhering to some specified number of "supervisor/research student" ratio of the UGC notification. We believe, UGC should ensure "supervisor/research student" ratio by expanding faculty recruitment in the universities and not through reduction in student intake."
The memo further says that JNU is one of the very few universities left in India which allows students from remote areas and marginalized background access to quality research programs. Instead of using the UGC notice to justify the decreasing of the number of seats in research programs, shouldn't there be a focus on filling up teaching vacancies in the university and expanding faculty strength, asks the memo.
The memo also says that the removal of JNU's unique and decade old deprivation point system is also unjustified.
Further the memo says that the UGC notification says that the written exam conducted for admission to research programs will be qualifying in nature. But this is being interpreted by the JNU Vice Chancellor to mean that the written exam will be a mere qualifier and that final selection will be based only on Viva, raising viva weightage in admissions to 100 percent. There has been a change in the minimum percent required in the written test for a student to be called for viva-voce for M.Phil. admission. Earlier it was 35% for unreserved categories, 31.5% for OBCs and 25% for SC/ST/PH out of 70, but now it has been raised to 50% for everyone which is nothing else but arbitrary.
The memo also highlighted that the minimum percentage required in qualifying examination to apply at JNU varied between 45% to 55% for different centers which is set keeping in mind the academic diversity of JNU. However, the UGC notice says that the minimum percentage in qualifying examination should be 55% for all courses and candidates. Implementation of this rule will deprive many students from the chance of even applying at JNU.
The memo ends with a demand that JNU should be allowed to uphold its institutional autonomy and prepare a robust defence of its current MPhil/PhD admission policy along with the Nafey Committee recommendations and present it to the UGC as a model that already fulfill the principles that might have guided many of the specific technical provisions of the UGC Notification
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