The JNUTA has noted with concern news items in the print media today that indicate that JNU, along with about 19 other Central Universities, have been in receipt—for the past two weeks—of a communication from the National Testing Agency (NTA) expressing its inability to conduct a Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for PhD courses. The fate of a JNU-specific JNUEE, which NTA has been conducting for the past three years is as yet officially unknown, but it is a fact that despite the e-prospectus having been released on August 24, 2022, the NTA is yet to generate a weblink to initiate the process of inviting applications for the PhD JNUEE.
The JNUTA would like to know the timing of the communication from the NTA vis-a-vis the release of the e-prospectus on August 24,2022, as well as the contents of the university’s communications with the NTA.
- Was the PhD prospectus, which is a legally binding document, issued despite the knowledge that the NTA has reneged on its commitment to JNU and other Central Universities?
- In its letters, has the NTA expressed its inability to conduct the JNUEE as well as the CUET PhD?
- If not, what else explains the delay in NTA commencing the process of applications for the JNUEE PhD?
The JNUTA is utterly dismayed that admissions to the JNU’s prestigious PhD programmes are being administered with appalling shabbiness. Not only does this failure impact most of the university—many of JNU’s centres admit only research scholars—but the clandestine and disorderly manner in which PhD admissions are being handled is in blatant violation of the JNU Act. The e-prospectus was released without approval by the Academic Council, which is the statutory body that has the sole responsibility for all matters pertaining to admissions to the university. No schedule for PhD admissions has been approved by the AC either, and even after the release of the prospectus, the timeline remains unknown, and has been kept a secret from both teachers and prospective students of the university, the most important stakeholders of the programme. The Standing Committee on Admissions, effectively wound up by the previous dispensation, continues to remain dysfunctional even under the present administration.
The JNUTA demands that the University authorities immediately apprise the Schools and Centres, Boards of Studies, as well as the Academic Council of the university about the status of PhD admissions for the academic year 2022-23. A collective and democratic decision needs to be arrived at through wide consultation on how best to salvage the 2022-23 PhD admissions from the mess created by the previous JNU administration’s engagement with the NTA. This decision must be taken at the earliest if this year’s admissions and the university’s autonomy are to be saved. The JNUTA insists that the University administration urgently resolve this crisis through consultation with the teaching community and in accordance with the required statutory processes.
The JNUTA invites the press to a press conference on the 12th of September (time and venue to be communicated closer to the date) to bring the extreme gravity of the situation to public notice and to expose the full extent of the damage that has been done to the university’s academic programmes due to its association with the NTA.