However, JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, in response to these allegations, said the council, which is the apex body of the university, is “more representative” of the entire institute and the administration has to follow its decision.
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“The NEP clearly envisions two kinds of universities — teaching intensive and research-intensive universities.
“However, the apex committee of JNU, without appreciating the policy in proper perspective, has recommended starting of several integrated teaching programmes across centres and schools in the university which would result in the conversion of the country’s premier research-intensive university into a teaching-intensive university,” said JNUTA president Milip C Sharma in a statement.
Sharma said, “This is contrary to the framework of NEP and in fact undermines its objectives.”
The NEP, which replaced the 34-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986, envisages broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic undergraduate education with a flexible curriculum, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
“At a time when the country is still recovering from the ravages of the second wave of Covid, it is indeed ironical that premier high education institutions of the country like JNU should be pushing ahead with changes envisioned in the NEP 2020 without any substantive debate.
“On August 17, at the 158th Academic Council meeting, the caretaker vice-chancellor of JNU introduced many changes of a substantive nature that are in principle contrary to the NEP, under the guise of implementing the NEP,” it said.
Kumar, however, said the apex body is “more representative” of the entire university and that the administration has to follow the decision of the body.
“The Academic Council, which is the highest statutory body, and comprises deans of schools and departments, has unanimously approved the implementation of the National Education Policy and then the Executive Council also approved it.
“We have to follow the decisions of these bodies. The academic council is more representative of the entire university because all the people are there,” he told PTI.
The teacher’s body, which has also alleged “lack of consultations”, said they were not aware of the apex body’s recommendations till they were formally placed and subsequently approved at the 158th Academic Council meeting on August 17.
It also questioned the constitution of the 18-member apex body looking into various components of NEP 2020, and called it “lopsided”.
“It was on November 19, 2020, at the 155th Academic Council meeting that the Vice-Chancellor first announced the decision to appoint an apex body comprising of 18 members to look into various components of NEP 2020.
“The constitution of the apex body was lopsided as it did not include representation from major schools,” it claimed in the statement.
The recommendation and approval for a medical school and a super speciality hospital in JNU, according to the JNUTA, provides another instance of the “malaise plaguing the current decision-making apparatus within the university”.
“The non-involvement of faculty working on various aspects of health administration in deliberations and the absence of any explicit rationale clearly laying out the reasons as to why such a structure ought to be located within JNU, given that the university is located in a green area that the authorities are legally bound to protect, makes it difficult to render unconditional support for such a project,” it explained.
Also, the present administration’s open admission in the court about the “lack of funds” for a Covid Care Centre in JNU, gives rise to questions of where and who will finance such a structure, it added.
Raising questions on various financial irregularities and frequent incidents of workers — including sanitation staff, gardeners, computer operators employed on a contractual basis — not receiving their salaries for months, it also pointed how the academic expenditure of the institute between 2018-19 and 2019-20 has gone down by “over 30 per cent” under Kumar, the body alleged.
“Academic expenditure for example in four years from 2016-17 to 2019-20 was less than Rs. 120 crores below the nearly Rs. 137 crores spent in the four year period 2012-13 to 2015-16, despite the rise in price levels,” it claimed.