Published: 15th January 2018
JNU students stage massive stir against mandatory attendance diktat. Will it work?
Hundreds of Jawarhalal Nehru University students gathered at the SL Lawn on campus supporting the JNU Student's Union (JNUSU) strike against the compulsory attendance proposal
Present ma'am — can you imagine a 24-year-old doing that every day at lectures? If you ask the authorities at Jawaharlal Nehru Univerisity (JNU), they seem to like the idea very much and hence have decided to make attendance compulsory in the university. However, after a month's resistance, JNUSU has conducted a campus strike with the slogan — JNU hai ye, Shakha nahi (This is JNU, not a political branch).
Students have one demand — We are adults and want to be treated that way. "Since the inception of the campus, there has been an unsaid rule that students will attend classes of their own volition, and a majority of them do. Moreover, it is always the teachers that are held accountable for the presence or absence of the students. Students, from across the city, have come and attended morning lectures and have attended classes of professor's from other departments even if they had to stand outside — that is the spirit of the college and I don't think amid such dynamics, anybody needs compulsory attendance," says N Sai Balaji, MPhil student on the campus.
Geeta Kumari, president JNUSU, has been actively updating social media about the strike. With the hashtag #BoycottAttendance, the posts have garnered huge support from the country. Here are a few updates straight from her profile:
But it is JNU's strike and it just can't be smooth. Balaji explains how the authorities are trying their best to curb the move by the students. "In a shocking move, the JNU admin in order to intimidate the students has deployed guards at all school buildings in response to the University Strike called by the JNUSU. Students in large numbers are observing strike and assembling in front of the schools. The JNUSU condemns this act of the admin which sees university students as criminals and tries to subvert democratic political actions like strikes," he says.
Even ex-students believe that compulsory attendance is redundant on the campus. Prerna Srivastav, MA graduate from the university says,"We need to understand that the students that study at JNU are 23 or 24-years-old. They are adults and know what is good for them. Plus, nobody at JNU thinks that bunking is a cool thing to do. They only miss the classes when they think there is something that can come out of that time."