Published: 10th November 2020
JNU's downfall will start from 2032, thanks to VC: New JNUTA President trains guns on administration
Dr Sharma feels the democratic voices on campus are being suppressed and a dialogue with the administration is the need of the hour
The Jawaharlal Nehru University might be ranked as one of the top universities in the country by the NIRF, but this might not continue for a long time. The quality of education in JNU will deteriorate in the next decade because of the recent controversial recruitments by the current Vice-Chancellor Dr Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, said Dr Milap Chand Sharma, the newly elected President of the JNU Teachers' Association.
Dr Sharma feels the democratic voices on campus are being suppressed and a dialogue with the administration is the need of the hour. "I have been a student at the university before I joined here as a faculty member. I have seen many Vice-Chancellors but none like him (Dr Kumar). JNU had a culture of providing 360° education. The Student-Faculty Committees decided on the curriculum. The students could come up to the teachers at any point to discuss their academic queries. We are losing that culture. We need to have a dialogue," he said. "The VC feels that the JNUTA and the students are disruptive to the administrative process because they protest. But that is not right. We protest when we feel something is wrong. If the administration feels they are on the right track why not have a discussion and try to convince us that they are right?" he asked.
Numerous recruitment scandals have rocked the university over the past few years — be it the alleged appointment of faculty because of their alliance with a particular party or recruitment of people without the relevant degrees or experience. Dr Sharma said that this will weaken the foundation of the university. "JNU's downfall will start in the next few years — approximately from 2032. The good teachers will retire by then and what will be left are the people recruited by this VC. The quality of education will degrade. This started a year after he joined. He changed the process of selecting the Deans and Chairpersons. Previously the senior-most professor was given this post — everyone knew them and respected them. He started handpicking the chairpersons. He chose people who would dare not open their mouths in front of him, who would support his decisions no matter what. This helped him recruit the people he wanted," added Dr Sharma.
The new JNUTA Executive Committee wants to have a dialogue with the VC and highlight the issues that the previous team had taken up. "We have decided to write a letter to the VC telling him that we are the new JNUTA EC and we would like an audience with him. He has not invited any of the JNUTA ECs for the past three years. If he wants to talk to us then that's great otherwise we will keep him updated with all our activities over email. We will have to protest to voice our demands if he won't talk to us. Democratic voices are being silenced on this campus and we need to stand up against this," said Dr Sharma. Dr Sharma and his team will lead the JNUTA for a year.
The JNUTA will also take up issues like online education, said Dr Sharma. The pandemic has made it clear that there is a huge technological gap that needs to be bridged before a major part of India can even think of going digital."We have students from remote areas. It is difficult to access the internet from there. I am from a village in Himachal Pradesh. When I went back home I was struggling to even make phone calls, let alone access the internet. But we need to integrate and develop our online reach. A hybrid system is the future but only 25 per cent of the curriculum can benefit from an online addition. The rest needs to be on campus," he added. He will also meet the students protesting near the entrance of the varsity for the phased return of the rest of the students.