JU students end hunger strike as admission tests back, VC wants to resign

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Kolkata, July 11 (IANS) Under pressure from protesting students and revolt by a large section of teachers, Jadavpur University authorities on Tuesday decided to bring back the admission test system for admission to six under-graduate courses, but the Vice Chancellor announced that he will resign.

The decision to admit students in the six UG courses in the humanities stream, by giving equal weightage to both admission test and marks obtained in the plus two board examination, was taken at an emergent meeting of the Executive Council in the evening, five days after a section of students went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding withdrawal of the earlier decision to scrap admission tests.

The hunger strike was withdrawn late in the night.

The Executive Council (EC) resolved that “in six departments of the arts faculty – Bengali, English, History, Comparative Literature, Political Science and Philosophy – admission to the undergraduate courses will be on the basis of 50 per cent weightage on an admission test, and 50 per cent weightage on the marks obtained in the plus two board exams”.

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The EC resolution, read out to the media by Registrar Chiranjib Bhattacharjee, also affirmed its faith on the teachers of the university and requested their full cooperation in the admission process.

The EC empowered the Registrar and the Dean, Faculty of Arts, to decide on the modalities of the admission test.

However, Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das and Pro Vice Chancellor Pradip Ghosh put it on record that they were not party to the resolution that was carried by majority.

But there was more drama as Das announced that he and Ghosh would meet West Bengal Governor K.N. Tripathi – the ex-officio Chancellor – and seek that they be relieved of their posts.

“We are not party to the resolution. We cannot go beyond the lawyers’ opinion given in the wake of a letter from the Chancellor. University cannot be run in the given situation. The pro-VC and I, will both seek to be relieved of our responsibilities,” said Das.

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The authorities’ decision to go back to the time-tested admission test system for the six UG courses was welcomed by the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association, which had backed the students’ protests all these days.

Most of the teachers of the six courses had dissociated themselves from the admission process decrying the scrapping of the admission test system. They were also angry over the “insult” meted out to them as a result of the university authorities’ decision to involve external experts in the admission process.

“From the outset we wanted the university’s academic autonomy to remain undisturbed. Today the EC has decided to restore the admission test system, overriding the pressure from the government,” said Assistant Secretary Partha Pratim Roy.

Roy was apparently hinting at state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, who had time and again spoken out against the JU following two separate admission processes – holding of tests for some courses, while admitting students on the basis of plus two results in some other courses.

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Many feel that the EC’s July 4 decision to scrap admission tests was taken in the wake of Chatterjee’s stand.

Earier in the day, four of the 20 students on hunger strike had to be rushed to the hospital after their health condition deteriorated,

The Registrar had then expressed concern over their health and the VC had also appealed to them to withdraw the hunger strike.

–IANS

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