The Academic Council (AC) of Jawaharlal Nehru University Thursday authorised the formation of an apex committee to look into the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Among other things, it will discuss converting three-year BA programmes into four-year programmes, and introducing new four-year courses.
The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) and JNU Students Union (JNUSU) were not invited for the meeting, which the former alleged showed the “scant regard that the Vice-Chancellor and his team has for democratic practices”.
In a statement, Rector I Chintamani Mahapatra said, “The Council members felt JNU should take the lead in implementing NEP-2020 in earnest and authorised the formation of an apex committee comprising representatives from different schools and centres to deliberate and come up with its recommendations.”
“Some of the major issues that came under focus were: (a) possibility of converting the existing three-year BA programmes into four-year programmes, (b) starting new four-year undergraduate programmes, (c) offering masters-level programmes in online mode on subjects which do not require lab or experimental work, (d) strengthening further the inclusive policy of the university to provide better opportunities for students coming from socially and economically disadvantaged sections, (e) increasing intake of international students, and (f) promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among students and faculty members,” he added.
JNUTA, however, said constitutional mechanisms were flouted. “These decisions were taken without any formal consultations with existing Schools and Centres, leave aside obtaining requisite approvals of the Boards of Studies of the Schools, and notwithstanding reservations expressed by many faculty members present,”said JNUTA president Milap Chand Sharma.
On the allegations, Mahapatra said, “Academic Council has only taken a decision to form a committee. The members will of course take views of all Centres and faculty members before they submit a report. No decision has been taken on any of the issues right now.”
In its meeting, the AC also decided to establish a Special Centre for Systems Medicine (SCSM). Systems Medicine is “an approach to understanding the complexity of interactions of all molecular and cellular determinants involved in the pathophysiology of a disease”, Mahapatra said.
On the new centre, V-C M Jagadesh Kumar said, “This proposed centre would serve as a national hub for the development of India-specific clinical and molecular data and its application in the area of Systems Medicine”.