In an unprecedented move, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has come up with a circular which makes attendance compulsory for all students, including research scholars, according to Indian Express report. “The Academic Council in its 144th Academic Council meeting held on December 1… has resolved to make attendance compulsory for all registered students… Attendance is mandatory from the winter semester 2018, for all students in all programmes, including BA, MA, MPhil and PhD,” said a circular on December 22, and signed by Assistant Registrar (Evaluation) Sajjan Singh.
However, it was not decided what will be the minimum attendance mark the students have to meet. “It is the decision of the AC, which I have just communicated to all departments and students,” Singh said. Another notice signed by Singh stated that “the vice-chancellor has constituted a committee of five members to frame the modalities/guidelines for the attendance system and its implementation”. Professor Bijoy Kumar Kuanr, one of the five members of the panel, said they received the circular on Tuesday and they will be holding the first meeting soon.
The move has irked the teachers and students. The JNU teachers’ and students’ associations — JNUTA and JNUSU, respectively — came out strongly against the move. JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai said no such decision was passed in the December 1 AC meeting. “The V-C made a proposal that he will form a committee to look into compulsory attendance. But no decision was taken. It is ridiculous. This is not the way we do things in JNU and we don’t think establishing a police culture is the way to ensure academic excellence,” she said, claiming that the V-C was trying to replicate the IIT model in JNU.
JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said, “JNU’s academic excellence achieved till date has rested on the philosophy of freedom of debate and discussion, inclusion and equality. The move to impose compulsory attendance is highly absurd.”
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court had asked for salary details and attendance records of a JNU assistant professor whose appointment is under challenge for allegedly committing “plagiarism”. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar has directed the JNU to produce the professor’s records, if any, for the period 2012 to 2014 when he was allegedly pursuing a Masters degree in Turkish Language and Literature from Turkey. “JNU shall file an additional affidavit placing before us the record relating to payment of salary, if any and the attendance record, if any, relating to Gous Mashkoor Khan for the period 2012-14,” it said.