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JNU sees reduction in Mphil PhD seats following UGC guidelines

The prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) saw a massive reduction in its Mphil PhD seats integrated programme following a University Grants Commission’s notification to do the same.

The university has been seething in agitation against seat reduction for over a month by a number of student bodies who view this decision as an attempt to deny social justice to the oppressed class, by the virtual shutdown of JNU’s research programmes.

 JNU sees reduction in Mphil PhD seats following UGC guidelines

JNU campus. JNU website

The M Phil/PhD intake notification published in the university’s website recently for the academic year 2017-18 showed only 102 seats vacant in various departments, whereas the same published a year ago for the academic year 2016-17 showed vacancy of total 970 seats in the said category.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court ordered to withhold admission process after a petition challenging UGC guidelines was filed, but the University published the intake notification after the Court dismissed the plea challenging the UGC guidelines, reports NDTV.

The news channel also reported that no seats for integrated Mphil-PhD course are allotted for much sought after subjects like physical sciences, computational and integrative science, biotechnology and Sanskrit.  Similar is the case with the History and Political Science department.

“There are many departments for which only one seat is open for admission: European studies, South Asian Studies, Geography and School Arts and Aesthetics,” the report said.

The admission prospectus also mentions that the current admission procedure has ended deprivation points for weaker sections in the research courses.

Deepak Kumar, a researcher on the issue wrote that the 2016 UGC notification does not mention a single word about the integrated programme thereby indicating that the UGC totally undermines the unique programme through a regulation. Unlike the earlier regulation passed in the year 2009, the newer one alters the entrance test in a manner that will decidedly exclude the marginalised students, especially in marginalised areas.

While questioning the decision to curb seats he says, “ Do the new regulations signal that on the one hand the state curbs the scope of public university to restrict the access of the downtrodden communities candidates from higher education and on the other hand, the state promotes private education?”

The university has been following the norm of giving 70% weightage to the written test in the selection process for M Phil, PhD and 30% weightage to the via-voce. But the model has been changed after the UGC notification to 100% weightage to viva-voce, which the protesting students believe will bring in favouritism in the selection process.

The university saw a massive protest from the student community against the seat cut including an indefinite hunger strike.

The JNUSU said in a press release issued earlier, “The JNU Vice-Chancellor violating all norms and ignoring objections from students and teachers, convened the  142nd Administrative Council meeting during the winter break on 23 December 2016, at a time when several members of the council were out of campus. The meeting should have accepted the viva committee Recommendations of reducing viva weightage from 30 to 15. But instead, the VC suddenly forced adoption of a UGC notification.”

Delhi High Court rejected the plea raised by five students on the grounds that the UGC guidelines are binding on all universities.

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Updated Date: Mar 22, 2017 22:07:39 IST