JNU to hold its fourth convocation online in November due to COVID-19

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New Delhi: In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) will hold its fourth convocation online in November, a statement from the varsity said on Monday.

Noting that convocation is a special moment in the life of a student, JNU Vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar said despite the pandemic, the varsity has decided to hold the convocation to make it a memorable event for students.

The executive council, which met here, approved the holding of the fourth convocation of the varsity, JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar said.

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the convocation this year will be a virtual convocation. Soon a notification will be issued inviting students to register themselves for participating in the virtual convocation," he said.

Jagadesh Kumar said the university revived the practice of holding convocations by organising its second convocation in 2018. The first was held in 1972.

"It is all about celebrating the scholarly achievement of a student after years of hard work by the university, family members and friends," Jagadesh Kumar said.

"I have no doubt that the convocation enhances the sense of belonging of students to their alma mater. Therefore, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to hold the convocation and make it a memorable event for our students," he said.

The convocation committee will work out the details on holding the virtual event sometime in November, the vice-chancellor said.

Last year, thousands of JNU students clashed with police on convocation day during their protest over fee hike, forcing Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' to stay inside the AICTE premises for over six hours.

Students were protesting outside the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), the venue for the varsity's third convocation.

The first convocation was held in 1972 but apparently the ceremony was discontinued due to a controversial speech of the then students' union president V C Koshy.

In a related development, the JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) claimed that the original agenda of the Executive Council, which was circulated, was expanded the evening before the meeting. 

Some important items were brought in for decision without any papers being circulated, it claimed.

The agenda items included the usual routine of irregularities and violation of norms and reservation policy in appointments, which the council was expected to ratify without any question, the JNUTA alleged.

"The council was also asked to authorise without question a fourfold increase in the financial allocation for legal charges to meet bills of the University's legal counsels, bills that have arisen precisely on account of the large volume of litigations the rampant irregularities in functioning have resulted in," the JNUTA said in a statement.

There is also the now customary presence of items on the agenda that are all "about persecution and harassment of teachers", it said. 

"Disparaging remarks about the JNU faculty were made throughout the meeting and the interventions of their elected representatives were repeatedly sought to be cut short, the chair abusing in the process the additional powers' of muting afforded by the online mode of the meeting," the statement said.

"The JNUTA and its office space also came under renewed attack," it said.

However, when the issue of the university's responsibility to run the creche/daycare centre was brought up, the matter was "just dismissed" as being of no consequence, the JNUTA alleged.

A similar attitude was expressed when elected representatives sought to raise issues with regard to the registration process of students and the future of teaching-learning in the university, it said. 

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