‘Occupy UGC’ movement gets support from JNU professor

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) The ‘OccupyUGC’ movement got support from JNU professor Janaki Nair on Friday who conducted an ‘open class’ outside the academic regulator’s office.

Nair spoke for about 40 minutes on the topic ‘When Higher Education was Engendered’ outside UGC office where the protest was going on.

Continuing with the agitation, which entered its 10th day on Friday, the protesters have rejected the proposals by the human resource development ministry and the University Grants Commission, as well as that by the committee set up to review UGC fellowships and said they will continue to protest till the government expands the coverage of the non-NET fellowship scheme to all public universities and also increases the amount from Rs.8,000 to 12,000.

Nair who talked about women from different regions and ethnic backgrounds in university spaces over a period of time and their impact. She also spoke about women’s participation and their impact on the ‘OccupyUGC’ movement.

“We do a lot of things in the university space; we read, we write and most importantly we think. The thinking is what the present government doesn’t want us to do. They will do everything in their capacity to cut down and reduce the kind of critical thinking that is being done,” she said.

Speaking to IANS, Nair said: “I came here as a concerned teacher, particularly concerned about the changes that are being proposed in higher education by HRD ministry and UGC.”

Aakash, a history Phd student at JNU, said: “The idea of the ‘open class’ is to bring out what is being taught inside the classrooms. What we have here may not be precisely what is being taught in classrooms. But when the classroom is taken out into the space of struggle, it alters the content of discussion.”

“We are planning to conduct more such ‘classes’. Till the OccupyUGC movement continues, we are planning to conduct one class each day. We have contacted professors from other universities as well. On Sunday, Mary John from Centre for Women’s Development Studies will come and address the students. We are also in the process of contacting professor Satish Deshpaney (Delhi School of Economics) and Professor Romila Thapar,” he added.

Later, former UGC member Yogendra Yadav also visited the protesters and expressed his support.

“I’ll join you if you want. It’s better to sit outside UGC than inside.”

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