JNU Students' Union, Teachers' Association question appointment of Jagadesh Kumar as UGC chairman

UGC Chairman: "Dismantling institutions is what Mamidala has expertise in," says JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh

UGC chairman M Jagadesh Kumar (image source: PTI)UGC chairman M Jagadesh Kumar (image source: PTI)

Press Trust of India | February 4, 2022 | 10:30 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The students' union and teachers' association of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) questioned the appointment of the university's vice-chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar, as University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman, saying he was being ''rewarded'' for "implementing the government's agenda".

Moushumi Basu, secretary of JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA), said she was "shocked" by the decision. "Is there a dearth of talent that the same set of people figure in the running for top posts? Was there no other academician worthy of being appointed as UGC chairman?" Basu said. She also said he had not taken any measures to work on building the university's infrastructure for digital technology, and teachers were forced to spend their own money for taking online classes. "How will he build the Digital University that has been proposed in the budget is anybody guess?" she said.

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JNU Students'' Union president (JNUSU) Aishe Ghosh echoed Basu's sentiments as she tweeted, "After destruction of JNU for the last 6 years, Mamidala Jagdesh Kumar is set to become the Chairman of UGC. Dismantling institutions is what Mamidala has expertise in. Exactly why the BJP govt chose him to take over the position". Her Deputy, JNUSU vice-president Saket Moon claimed Kumar had been rewarded for ''implementing the government's agenda in an autocratic way''. "This shows that those who implement what the government wants are given awards. He has ruined JNU," he alleged.

From the sedition row of 2016 and lockdown of his office multiple times to then HRD minister getting stuck for over six hours at the venue of JNU's convocation in 2019, Kumar's tenure as the VC has been marred by controversies. Kumar, who was made the VC in January 2016, had his first brush with controversy just a week after his appointment when students locked horns with the administration over the holding of an event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Also read | JNU: JNUTA raises questions for education ministry, alleges ‘misgovernance’ in university

In a statement, Kumar said his immediate focus is going to be the implementation of the National Education Policy. "As Chairman, UGC, this is a great opportunity for me to work for the young minds of our country in Higher Educational Institutes. My immediate focus is going to be the speedy implementation of the National Education Policy, enabling research and innovation ecosystem in HEIs and making higher education more inclusive and accessible using technology. I look forward to working with students, teachers and heads of higher educational institutions across the country," he said.

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