Amidst the ongoing row over mandatory attendance at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, the administration has made it mandatory for all students to have 75 per cent attendance in order to appear for their examinations. A 10 per cent relaxation will be given to those valid medical grounds.
A circular issued by the Assistant Registrar (Evaluation) Sajjan Singh states that all students of the BA, MA, MSc, M Tech, post-graduate diploma, M Phil, PhD as well as all part-time programmes would require a minimum of 75 per cent attendance but if they are absent on valid medical grounds, 60 per cent would be sufficient to allow them to write the examinations. It also added that M Phil and PhD students absent on valid academic grounds must have prior approval from their supervisor and a competent authority.
The move has triggered a controversy with students and teachers threatening to ‘boycott’ it. On 9 January, students of the JNU Students Union (JNUSU), led by president Geeta Kumari met the vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar with a petition against the new attendance rule, and claimed that mandatory attendance would destroy the the academic freedom and the ‘academic culture’.
We tried to explain how students of the campus attend lectures not just in classrooms, but also at dhabas and hostel mess. Learning is a 24x7 process for JNU students, and as responsible adults students have never denied their responsibility.Geeta Kumari
Kumar however stood his ground and said that the mandatory attendance model was part of the Indian Institutes of Technology’s culture and would have to be followed by JNU.