JU row: Students on hunger-strike, VC meets Governor, Education Minister

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Kolkata, July 6 (IANS) Amid soaring protests by students and teachers over scrapping of admission tests for some undergraduate courses, Jadavpur University Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das on Friday called on West Bengal Governor K.N. Tripathi and state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee to apprise them of the situation in the premier institution.

Irate students, seeking restoration of the 40-year-old admission test system for undergraduate courses in six humanities subjects, have started an indefinite hunger strike in campus, and threatened to convert it into a fast unto death if the authorities failed to give in to their demand.

On the other hand, angry over the “insults” meted out to them and the decision to do away with the tried and tested admission test system, most teachers of three departments – English, comparative literature and Bengali – announced they would stay away from the entire admission procedure.

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The Jadavpur University Teachers Association held a ceasework on Friday, besides a three-hour sit-in protest.

Das, who had been confined to his chamber for over 31 hours from Wednesday afternoon by the students, first met Chatterjee at the latter’s south Kolkata residence.

With scores of media persons waiting at the gate for his remarks about the meeting, Das slipped out through the backdoor and drove to the Raj Bhawan.

However, there has been no official comment about what transpired at the two meetings.

The university, rated one of the best in the country academically, plunged into turmoil after the authorities – apparently under pressure from the West Bengal government – decided to do away with the system of holding entrance tests for admission to six under-graduate courses.

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In a reversal of a decision taken a week earlier, the university executive council in a July 4 resolution said for the coming academic year “undergraduate admission in arts should be conducted on the basis of marks obtained in the last board examination alone, without conducting any written admission test”.

On June 27, the EC had declared that admission tests would be held for six departments of the humanities stream – comparative literature, history, political science, philosophy, English and Bengali – and the merit list prepared by giving equal weightage to the test and marks obtained by the students in the previous board examination.

Earlier, the university witnessed an uproar following the decision to take the services of “external experts” in preparing one of the two sets of question papers for the admission tests, and the opinion of the advocate general that the Board of Studies has no role to play in the admission process.

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The latest EC decision came in the backdrop of Education Minister Chatterjee on more than one occasion speaking out against the JU holding admission tests for undergraduate courses in some subjects, while admitting students on the basis of plus two results in some other courses.



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