JNU students union announces referendum on attendance issue

New Delhi: Continuing its agitation against the JNU administration’s compulsory education directive, the university’s students union has announced that it will hold a ‘referendum’ on the issue on March 7.

“JNUSU appeals to students to vote this time in the referendum on Wednesday March 7,” JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said.

The election committee that held JNUSU elections last year will be deputing some of its members for holding the referendum.

Meanwhile, a group of JNU research scholars claimed that they have initiated a survey on compulsory attendance policy within the university on how the initiative would help improve academic excellence as claimed by the administration.

The questionnaire, which is restricted to JNU students, is already in circulation and a student with an e-mail ID can participate in it only once, they said.

The questions include how serious absenteeism was on campus for different courses and how does attendance contribute to academic excellence.

One of the questions read, “Only a few students are protesting this rule and they are either politically motivated or misled by political parties/JNUSU,” with the options ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree with various others in between.

Some of the questions in the 22-point survey also allow participants to select multiple answers.

The students who initiated the project wished to remain anonymous.

Officials from the administration, in a press meet, had said compulsory attendance initiative will improve academic excellence despite the fact that the JNU administration received A++ ranking by NAAC last year.

Another JNU students collective claimed to have conducted a similar survey among students of foreign universities on compulsory attendance.

The response from the students showed that none of them had centralised compulsory attendance at MPhil/PhD level and students from prominent universities like Duke University and Oxford University expressed disagreement with the JNU system, they said.

Students from around 15 foreign universities including London School of Economics, South Asian University, Oxford and Columbia University took part in the survey, the collective claimed.

A circular issued by the Jawaharlal Nehru University making 75 per cent attendance mandatory for availing scholarships, fellowships and other facilities including hostel has sparked protests by the students.