JNU's image as anti-national university has changed in past one year: Vice-Chancellor Santishree Pandit

The Jawaharlal Nehru University is back to academic innovation and research excellence, Santishree, who completed one year as JNU VC on Tuesday, said.

Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityJawaharlal Nehru University

Press Trust of India | February 8, 2023 | 08:45 AM IST

NEW DELHI: JNU's image as an "anti-national university" has changed in the past one year as the university's community has shown it is a "nationalistic, creative and inclusive" institution, Vice Chancellor Santishree D Pandit said on Tuesday. Over the year, some students have been accused of making anti-India statements and being involved in communal riots, and the university was branded "anti-national", she said.

But, now the Jawaharlal Nehru University is back to academic innovation and research excellence, Santishree, who completed one year as JNU VC on Tuesday, said. "The varsity's image as an anti-national institution has changed. This year, the JNU community has shown that it is nationalistic, creative and inclusive. Academic leadership matters for my team and faculty," she told PTI in an interview.

Also Read | JNU's new academic initiatives, faculty recruitment; VC shares achievements made in last 1 year

Santishree summed up her journey so far as the first female vice-chancellor as "very satisfying". In 2016, three JNU students were arrested on charges of sedition. Later, JNU student Sharjeel Imam and several others, including Umar Khalid, were booked under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and provisions of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots in the North-East Delhi.

Listing out her work in the past year, the vice chancellor said the varsity affected 32 recruitments and 44 overdue promotions. The number of women chairpersons and dean has gone up from 19 to 39, she said. When asked what are the challenges the JNU is facing at the moment, Sanstishree said the university is struggling to synchronise the academic calendar which was disrupted since early 202 due to Covid; the completion of PhD submissions delayed due to the pandemic; and the modernisation of the campus infrastructure.

Also Read | Sharjeel Imam, Safoora Zargar, other students discharged in 2019 anti-CAA protest violence case

"We are also working in the direction of expansion of the implementation of NEP (New Education Policy) 2020 through more MA programmes in different Schools, and increasing the University-Corpus fund from ₹50 Crores to ₹250 Crores," she said. Born on 15 July 1962 in Leningrad, Russia, Santishree was educated in Chennai at the Presidency College, both B.A. and M.A. Topper and Gold Medallist.

She completed her MPhil and PhD in International Politics from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Post-Doctorate in Peace and Conflict Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden. She was appointed as the first woman and alumnus Vice Chancellor of India's top University last year.

She has published four books and edited two. Her teaching and research career spans over three-and-a-half decades beginning with a lecturer at Goa University in 1988 and in 1991 joining the University of Pune, now Savitribai Phule Pune University. She is also a member of several national academic and research bodies since 2015.

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