New Delhi, Sep 29 (PTI) A phased return of the students to the campus, more time to be given to the students ahead of the entrance exams and extending the deadline for research scholars were some of the demands put forth by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) on Tuesday.
The students' body said many MPhil and PhD students had left behind their laptops and research material when they went home during the coronavirus-induced lockdown and were unable to work on their projects.
It also alleged that the dates of the entrance exams were finalised without any planning and thus, the dates clashed with the exam dates of other universities.
JNU's entrance exams will be held between October 5 and October 8.
The students' body said releasing the date-sheet 15 days before the commencement of the examination in the backdrop of the pandemic, when transport facilities in the country are disrupted, is an act of callousness that the National Testing Agency (NTA) must account for.
'The aspirants were not given an opportunity to change their centres at the last minute as was done in the case of the UGC-NET examinations and hence, they have ended up with JNUEE exam centres far off from the places they are currently in.
'The admission branches of the JNU and the NTA are now initiating last-minute efforts to change the centres of the aspirants, but the logistical challenges in the face of the limited time remain huge. The entire process of centre change as it currently stands is based upon individual mails to NTA/JNU, with no public notice and no assurance of a change in the centres,' the JNUSU alleged.
The NTA has scheduled the JNUEE at a time when the final semester examinations are going on in the Calcutta University, Jadavpur University, Mumbai University, Burdwan University, North East Hill University and a number of premier educational institutions in the country, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh said.
'The fact that the exams were made to clash with the exams of other important institutions reflects that there is a lack of seriousness in the planning of the exams,' she added.
The students' union demanded that a month's notice be given before the conduct of the exams, allowing people to plan logistics and be prepared in the time of a pandemic, and that the dates should not clash with that of any other exams.
'We reiterate that the exams must be held only after all these concerns are resolved satisfactorily,' Ghosh said.
The JNUSU said the university administration should work out a protocol to ensure that MPhil and PhD students can return to the campus in a phased manner.
When the research scholars left for their homes, they left behind their laptops and research material and have not been able to work properly, it said.
'Many other universities have allowed research scholars to return and we have been asking the administration to allow a phased return of the research scholars.
'We have also written to the Delhi government and told the administration that we are ready to work with them to make it possible by following all the COVID-19 protocols,' Ghosh said.
The delay is causing irreversible problems for a lot of students, particularly the research scholars, who are losing valuable time, the students' body said.
It accused the JNU administration of laying down 'arbitrary and unreasonable guidelines for PhD research scholars, who were supposed to submit their theses by December 31, but are now stranded at various places with varying access to the internet and research materials'.
'A circular on September 1 asked the students to submit the applications for their 9B extension by September 30. The 9B extension of one year, as on the PhD ordinance of the university before 2018, requires the submission of 90 per cent of the PhD draft.
'Students have not been able to access the internet. The students of sciences, computer, geography and those courses that require field work have not been able to access laboratories or their field work sites,' a member of the JNUSU said.
A number of students under duress have written to the administration to extend the deadline for the application of 9B extension till December 31, but there has been no response, the JNUSU said.
It also demanded that offline exams be immediately conducted by allowing the students concerned back in the campus, so that they are not unfairly inconvenienced when it comes to applying for further education or career opportunities.
'The final-year students were given the option to either write online exams or have offline exams after the reopening of the university. However, the university has not released any information regarding the conduct of offline exams for the students who could not opt for the online mode, even as the deadline to complete academic evaluation is nearly over,' a member of the students' body said.
JNUSU general secretary Satish Chandra Yadav claimed that students are also facing issues as the university has not disbursed fellowships.
The JNUSU also alleged that the administration is now withholding funds to the students' body.
'The withholding of funds is not acceptable as it is unfair to the vendors and jeopardises the conduct of future elections. We demand that the administration immediately release funds for the election expenditure of 2019,' a member of the JNUSU said. PTI SLB RC