JNU academic council gives nod to turn Sanskrit centre to school


Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Academic Council (AC) Friday gave its approval to the setting up of a School of Engineering and Management, as well as conversion of the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies (SCSS) to a full-fledged School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies. The move now requires approval from the Executive Council (EC).
Some AC members alleged that they dissented but their dissent was not recorded, and that the vice-chancellor did not allow a discussion on the matter. The V-C, Registrar and Rector did not respond to calls by The Sunday Express.
An AC member alleged, “The V-C said the university had received funds from the University Grants Commission and the School of Engineering and Management was going to be set up. When we tried to intervene, he said only those who understood the subject could ask questions. When I asked him what would be the structural difference between the engineering and management courses that are taught in IITs and the ones here, he told me to go find out for myself.”
“We tried to reason with him on the Sanskrit school as well, but he did not listen. His said the SCSS was doing amazing work. When an AC member tried to speak about starting a new course in Mathematics, she wasn’t allowed to, despite having support from others,” the member alleged.
Another AC member said the School of Engineering and Management would be “unique”. “It will be a dual degree programme envisioned by the V-C, where an engineering student does a BTech degree and an MS in a non-engineering programme, like humanities or literature. We want to build socially responsible engineers and JNU wants to be a leader in that,” he said.
Girish Nath Jha, a professor from SCSS, said they had pushed for the conversion earlier as well, but were better prepared to present their case this time. “We have been given this chance to set up a world-class School. Being a School, we’ll be able to branch out more since Sanskrit has 18 specialisations. We will work on Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit as well as study Ayurveda to understand its benefits. When we were a Special Centre, we couldn’t have other departments but now we will be able to expand. However, we’ll start with just one Centre,” he said.
The matter of marking attendance for students also allegedly came up, but remained at the level of discussion