Why Are Arts Students Of Jadavpur University Up In Arms Against The Administration

The university recently scrapped its old admission policy for six courses in humanities

Aspiring students of Kolkata’s reputed Jadavpur University (JU) are at loggerheads with the college authorities, following the latter’s decision to scrap the policy of admission to six humanities subjects on the basis of entrance examinations.

The aspirants, according to the new policy, will be enrolled on the basis of marks scored during Class XII board exams. The policy is already in place for admission to science stream courses taught at the varsity.

The examination dates for the subjects – English, Comparative Literature, History, Bengali, Political Science and Philosophy – scheduled earlier, now stand cancelled.

What is the controversy? 

The unprecedented decision to scrap the entrance based procedure was taken in Wednesday’s executive council meeting amid uproar over the university’s decision to include ‘external experts’ to set one of the two sets of question papers for entrance tests in six undergraduate arts courses.

Source: The Indian Express

The new system, which is applicable “only for this year”, has displeased both the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) and the Arts Faculty Students’ Union (AFSU), reported PTI.

According to The New Indian Express, students and a section of teachers from the university have been protesting against the move over the past one week.

How are the students reacting?

The students and their parents have held protests outside the varsity in order to  gain the administration’s attention.

The students as well as teachers maintain that the previous admission policy has been in place for 40 years and that the university’s decision may lower the academic standard of the varsity, according to PTI.

The protesting students also alleged that the new policy is aimed at pushing the youth cadres of ruling Trinamool Congress into the Left-dominated university, the New Indian Express reported.

Outstation students suffer 

According to The Telegraph, Shivani Kumari, who had arrived from her hometown Kota by train last Monday, was unaware of the cancellation of examination dates. She now stares at a blank future.

Source: The Indian Express

She had an entrance test lined up at St Bede’s College in Shimla on June 29, but decided not to take it because studying English at Jadavpur University was her first choice, the report added.

“We are not accepting this decision. We will continue our agitation”, PTI quoted an AFSU leader saying

Several other anguished outstation students also appeared agitated as they were caught unawares by the university’s diktat.

What’s the response of authorities?

Speaking at the press conference regarding the decision, JU registrar Chiranjib Bhattacharjee said: “The Executive Council has decided that entrance exams for admission to the arts subjects will not be held only this year. This decision has been taken to address the legal questions over the exams and not to harass the students awaiting certainty of the admission process,” a report in The Indian Express said.

Bhattacharjee claimed that the university’s executive council decided to scrap the entrance exams because several people were unhappy with the previous decision to involve external experts to conduct these tests.

On the other hand, University’s Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das claimed that some students confined him to a room after the decision was announced. “This is an unfortunate and an undemocratic way of protesting. My question is what role do the existing students have in this issue? They have every right to express their concern but this is not the right way to do it,” he told News 18.

West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said the admission procedure of all the faculties should be similar which will ensure “uniformity”.


The JU chapter of the All Bengal University Teachers’ Association has also thrown support behind the protesting students.

Source: The Indian Express

“Scrapping the entrance tests will lead to discontent among professors, students, scholars, guardians and applicants”, President of Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA), Keshav Bhattacharya told News 18, while expressing anger over the decision.

“We are not aware of the admission process for next year. We believe that the admission process cannot and should not be continued without the involvement of teachers of the departments and schools. Hiring of external experts is not acceptable to us. We request the council to resolve the issue and decide an academically desirable mode of admission that includes teachers who have, year after year, proved the success of the system,” he added.

Social Media Reactions

People on social media have also expressed their disappointment over the move being undertaken by the state university.

(Written by Arnabjit Sur)