Published: 22nd July 2020
Pondicherry University's prospectus leaves out a few SC, ST, minority fellowships, to students' chagrin
The PUSC, in a statement, has termed the move "anti-student" and stated that it is meant to "systematically exclude the students from underprivileged sections"
Pondicherry University has once again been put under the scanner once again, as students said on Tuesday that in the new academic prospectus for 2020-21, the varsity administration has excluded the National Fellowship for Scheduled Caste Students (NFSC), National Fellowship for Higher Education of ST Students (NFST), Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) and a few other fellowship categories in their call for PhD admission. The Pondicherry University Students' Council has requested the administration to revoke this decision immediately and revise the admission criteria.
The PUSC, in a statement on Tuesday, has termed the move "anti-student" and stated that it is meant to "systematically exclude the students from underprivileged sections." "While the students and research aspirants across the nation struggle due to the economic and social crisis of the pandemic, Pondicherry University tries to spurn them from gaining quality higher education with the new criteria for PhD admission. The new prospectus for the academic year 2020-21 states that the admission for PhD candidates under NFSC, NFST and MANF categories are excluded. This is in contrast to the admission conditions set by the Pondicherry University administration until last year. It is also found that some departments reserve the vacant PhD seats exclusively for JRF candidates. NFSC, NFST and MANF are equivalent to JRF and the attempt to elude these categories show the anti-reservation attitude of the administration. The new policy is negligence towards the right of students from minority communities. PUSC condemns this move and urges the authorities to revoke this criterion at the earliest," read the official statement.
The new prospectus states that the admission test is waived for candidates "who have qualified for the National Eligibility Test conducted by UGC/CSIR or such other National Level examination recognised by the University as an equivalent, and awarded a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to carry out PhD Programme. NET qualified candidates without JRF will have to take the entrance test." PUSC President P Parichay Yadav says that this new prospectus doesn't mention the other fellowship categories at all while NFSC, NFST and MANF are equivalent to JRF. "This was not the case even last year. We are trying to get this revised immediately. The students' council has sent letters to the vice-chancellor and others in the administration already requesting them to look into this. We are waiting for their responses, accordingly, we will think of our next step forward," he added.
National Fellowship for Scheduled Caste Students is a Central Sector Scheme introduced during the financial year 2005-06 to provide opportunities to Scheduled Castes students for pursuing higher education leading to M Phil/PhD. Maulana Azad National Fellowship, also known as MANF is meant for students of minority communities that include Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, Christians and Jains. The selection of candidates for MANF is done on the basis of merit displayed by students in UGC NET/ CSIR-NET examination. National Fellowship for Higher Education of ST Students is formulated and funded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
We will update the copy when Pondicherry University responds to our queries.