The Jawaharlal Nehru University is set to send out letters of warning to the parents of nearly 7,000 students –around 86% of total student strength –for failing to meet the varsity’s new mandatory attendance rule.
Sources said that at least three MPhil/PhD students, all from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, have already been sent such warning letters dated April 16, issued by the office of the assistant registrar (evaluation). The letter tells the parents that their child “has been reported by the Centre/School for remaining absent unauthorisedly for all days in the current winter semester 2018 till end of February 2018.”
“Considering future prospects of your ward, you are hereby requested to advise your ward to comply with the attendance rules,” the letter further reads.
Students, however, criticised the university’s move of ‘telling off adults, all of who were above the age of 25.”
Simone Zoya Khan, the JNU Students Union vice president, expressed her disbelief when asked about the letters.
“These are 27, 28, 29 year old research students. What do they mean by sending letters to their parents? Some research scholars are married and have kids. This is just the university’s way of undermining the voice and agency of the student. I mean, for BA or MA students I can understand. But for research scholars, it is just absurd,” she said.
Sajjan Singh, JNU’s assistant registrar of evaluation, said that they were to send such letters to the parents of any student who has failed to meet the required 75% attendance policy.
“We have to send approximately 7,000 letters. But I am not sure how many have already been dispatched,” he said. The JNU has a student population of around 8,100.
While mandatory attendance requirements are not new in Delhi universities, the rules usually apply to undergraduate students. Delhi University and Ambedkar University, for example, have a minimum attendance requirement for their undergraduate students mostly.
The acting dean of the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Mazhar Asif, refused to comment. JNU V-C, registrar, chief proctor, rectors 1-3, were all unresponsive to calls and text messages.