Admission to various courses of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) will be done through the Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET) from the academic year 2022-23. The decision was taken at the university’s Academic Council meeting and an announcement was made by the deemed university late last evening, 12 January.

The decision of the council was taken in accordance with its earlier decision on 22 March last year. As per reports, it was its 157th meeting. The CUCET will be planned by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

As per an official announcement issued by JNU, the adoption of CUCET for the admission of students will lead to a “level playing field” for candidates across India. Moreover, it will reduce the overall burden of conducting many entrance tests as well.

Teachers’, students’ unions oppose

However, the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) and the JNU students’ union (JNUSU) expressed their opposition to Wednesday’s decision.

JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh alleged the CUET decision has been “imposed” in an autocratic way. “Yet again, the JNU Academic Council crossed all limits to bulldoze the decision-making process. Autocratic ways of imposing decisions,” she tweeted.

The JNUTA alleged that the Vice-Chancellor “has once again bulldozed his diktat, making JNU part of the CUET”. They accused the Vice-Chancellor of selectively orchestrating the discussion on the CUET which was sent as an additional agenda item on January 10, by stating that decision on the matter had already been taken in the 157th meeting of the Academic Council.

“This however is not true. A perusal of the minutes of the 157th meeting of the Academic Council clearly shows that this was not even listed on the agenda of that meeting. “It was only part of one of the several recommendations of the advisory committee on admissions which recommended that ‘in case of receiving any direction from MoE/UGC, the University will accordingly adopt and admit students through CUET’,” the JNUTA said in a statement.

They said the members of the Academic Council have reported that there was no discussion on CUET during the Academic Council meeting in March last year.

“More importantly, when the additional agenda was sent on Jan 10, 2022, 111 faculty members submitted their opinion requesting the Academic Council to refer the agenda item for discussion at the School (BOS) and Centre (Faculty Committee) for further deliberations. Not only did the Vice-Chancellor not place this letter on the table, but he also did not allow people to raise apprehensions with respect to the adoption of CUET,” they said.

Earlier, admission to JNU courses was held primarily through the Jawaharlal Nehru University Entrance Examination (JNUEE), except for PhD programmes. For admission to Doctorate courses, candidates were admitted on the basis of their JNUEE scores and a viva voce.

While the JNU notice has said that the decision to implement CUCET was “overwhelmingly endorsed”, the university’s Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) has expressed discontent with the move, according to an NTDV report.

According to the article, the JNUTA had claimed that members were not allowed to speak at the Academic Council meeting by the university administration. It also commented that after such actions, the press note issued by the JNU administration talking about “overwhelming endorsement” of the CUCET proposal was “ironic”.

JNU has become the second university, after Delhi University, to decide on implementing CUCET from the next academic year.

The CUCET was proposed under the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020. According to a News18 report, the exam will focus on aptitude instead of academics and will consist of questions related to general knowledge and logic and reasoning.

The CUCET was supposed to be implemented in 2021 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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