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Letter from JNUSU to Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal, MHRD, regarding academic issues

Letter to MHRD from Jawharlal Nehru University Students’ Union

Subject: Regarding issues of evaluation, academic backlog, and scholarships in JNU in view of the lockdown

Respected Sir,

The situation that humanity as a whole is faced with at this current juncture is as you know, unprecedented. Following the forced shut down of schools and educational institutions due to the outbreak of COVID-19, formal academic engagement across the world has ground to a halt. The UNESCO in this regard went on to state in a press release on the 26th of March that over 1.5 billion children and youth in 165 countries were affected by school and university closures[1]. While the situation that citizens in general and students in particular are faced with collectively is certainly unprecedented, one must however take into account its differentiated impacts, and how without a uniform and substantive policy framework in place this could lead to increasing dropouts, furthering of gendered gaps in the educational outcomes, and the further entrenchment of marginalisation of historically deprived sections of the society from spaces of learning.

As you yourself have acknowledged in the past, the Jawaharlal Nehru University is one of the premier institutes of higher education in this country. As such, the University is home to over 8,500 students hailing from all over India and indeed from across the world. It is in this regard that as the duly elected representatives of the student community in JNU, we have found recent news reports regarding the formalisation of academic engagement, classes, and examinations via online means such as e-mail, WhatsApp, etc to be extremely distressing due to a number of reasons which we shall attempt to elaborate on to some degree below. Continue reading Letter from JNUSU to Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal, MHRD, regarding academic issues