Published: 21st May 2020
Online entrance exams are discriminatory: JNUSU requests MHRD to postpone entrance process
In a letter to the minister, the student representatives said that academic activities across India have been rescheduled or put on a hiatus for the foreseeable future
The office-bearers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) have requested the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal to look into the postponement of entrance exams and viva-voce for admissions to educational institutions as many students will not be able to apply if the system is made online. Even though JNU has not issued any instructions in this regard, the students have asked the MHRD to take a look into the process being followed by other institutions like Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Hyderabad), National Centre for Biological Sciences, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.
In a letter to the minister, the student representatives — President Aishe Ghosh, Vice-President Saket Moon, General Secretary Satish Kumar Yadav and Joint Secretary Md Danish — said that academic activities across India have been rescheduled or put on a hiatus for the foreseeable future, including entrance examinations for various universities. "However, we are extremely concerned with the fact that certain institutions are still continuing with the entrance schedule without considering the conditions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic," said the letter which further pointed out three institutions especially — the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Hyderabad), National Centre for Biological Sciences, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. "Within the last seven days, all of them have e-mailed selected students for admissions informing them of viva-voce for the same through video conferencing in the first half of June 2020," added the letter.
The students pointed out that these schedules "openly contravene UGC recommendations which advise the upcoming academic process to be scheduled in the month of August". "Moreover, the admission process that these institutes are set to follow is highly exclusionary and discriminatory towards students from marginalised backgrounds. Majority of students across India have been forced to return to their homes, there is a sizeable proportion of students with little to no internet access, including students from Kashmir, where internet access has been restricted by government orders. Also, the present lockdown has meant that students cannot access internet cafes to avail online services," said Aishe.
In these circumstances, communicating important information via e-mail, and conducting interviews through video conferencing is highly unfair, insensitive, and exclusionary, said the student leader. "With the present lockdown and the threat of COVID-19 weighing heavily upon all students, it is in the best interest of the larger student community that all entrance and admission related procedure to be postponed," said Saket.