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Jadavpur University Protest Sees First Victory, Fight not Over, say Students (Picture: Uttarayan Chakrabarti via Facebook)

Students and teachers of Jadavpur University, (JU) Kolkata who have been protesting against changes made in the admission procedure saw their first victory on Tuesday (July 11, 2018) when authorities decided to bring back the admission test system for admission to six undergraduate courses. Vice Chancellor (VC) Suranjan Das declared his resignation as a response to this decision taken by the Executive Committee (EC).

The protest in JU started as a spontaneous reaction to the EC’s decision on July 4 to scrap the entrance examination that forms a major part of the admission process of the university and the involving of non-JU experts in the admission process. Members of the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) joined the protest along with the students and demanded that the university’s academic autonomy be kept intact.

JU had decided that admission test designed by the JU Professors for the undergraduate courses in the six departments of the arts faculty – Bengali, English, History, Comparative Literature, Political Science and Philosophy – be scrapped. Soon after the decision, students went on a hunger strike and a social media campaign under the hashtag #HandsOffJU was initiated. Five days into the strike and with 20 students hospitalised after falling ill, the EC on Tuesday took the decision to give 50-50 weightage to the entrance exam and higher secondary school (Class XII) examination scores.

It is said that the hasty decision to scrap the entrance examination was taken under pressure from Partha Chatterjee, the state Minister for Education. Earlier, the minister had questioned why JU had entrance examinations for some of the courses while other admissions were based on just the performance in higher secondary school board exams.

Students claim that this reversal of decision was only a step towards victory as it was still unclear as to who would conduct the entrance examinations. However, the hunger strike has been lifted and an admission committee meeting is scheduled to take place today (July 11, 2018) to decide on the modalities of the admission procedure. The protesting students are also organising a rally from Gate No. 4 today.

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