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Tuesday 28 January 2020

JNU Academic Council didn’t pass attendance resolution: Madhu Kishwar

New Delhi: JNU Academic Council member and scholar-activist Madhu Kishwar today said the controversial resolution on compulsory attendance “was not passed in the council”, contradicting the administration’s version.

In a series of tweets, Kishwar said, “I planned to raise the matter in the Academic Council meeting of 23 Feb. But since VC has postponed it indefinitely, I may as well clarify that the AC did not pass any resolution regarding compulsory attendance. This issue was not an agenda item. It cropped up accidentally.”

Kishwar was nominated by JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar last year to represent the School of Arts and Aesthetics (SAA) as an expert from outside the varsity for two years.

On 22 December last year, the JNU administration issued a circular which read “144th AC meeting has resolved to approve to make attendance compulsory for all regularly registered students”.

A committee was also formed based on the decision.

Kishwar said it was during a discussion on the performance of SC/ST students that the provision of compulsory attendance propped up leading to a heated exchange among members.

“Meeting ended without any decision on this issue,” she added.

Kishwar said she was shocked to read reports about the VC implementing compulsory attendance.

“It was a rude shock for me to read in newspapers that VC had implemented compulsory attendance for all students, including for PhD students where it makes no sense whatsoever because no regular classes are held at that level. PhD students are expected to do fieldwork or archival research,” she tweeted.

Batting for an education system overhaul, she said, “Our universities need all-around overhaul and reorientation. They’ve become a hotbed of disruptive politics rather than academic pursuits. But we cannot undertake meaningful reforms in education by creating an atmosphere of civil war and permanent confrontation in campuses.”

She stressed the need for a systematic and planned approach to implementing compulsory attendance and said, “I’m not in favour of a teacher or student absenteeism. Those who come to the university, especially on scholarships, must take their classes seriously. If attendance system has to be introduced in JNU, as it exists in IITs, IIMs etc, let it be done in a planned & systematic manner.”

On Thursday, hundreds of students had laid siege to the administration block and stopped two rectors from leaving the block.


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