The past fortnight has particularly been grim for students of higher education in India because of three murderous assaults. First, JNU student Umar Khalid was shot at outside the Constitution Club; second, Sanjay Kumar, an Assistant Professor in Motihari, Bihar, was subjected to an organised mob assault; and third, Kawalpreet Kaur, a student activist, alleged that she and three of her friends were harassed and beaten up by goons in Vijaynagar area in Delhi.
Here is a brief roundup of everything that happened in the last two weeks and you haven’t already read on Campus Watch.
The Deputy CM of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, who also holds the Education portfolio, took to his official Facebook account on August 16 to share pictures of the event “Launch of Curriculum on Critical Thinking for Transformative Learning” aimed to develop a critical approach in future generations of teachers. The new subject is for B.Ed & DL.Ed programs under SCERT/DIET.
Audrey Truschke, assistant professor of South Asian history at Rutgers University, Newark, recently in news for her book “Aurangzeb: The Man and the Myth”, was supposed to deliver a lecture titled “Unpopular Stories: Narrating the Indo-Islamic Past and Navigating Present-day Prejudices” in Hyderabad on August 11. The historian took to Facebook to share the news, writing “The organizers took this decision after being informed by the Hyderabad police that several individuals had written letters protesting my appearance. I saw only one such letter, and it was from an individual with self-admitted connections to the RSS, BJP and BJPM.” Expressing dismay over the current state of affairs, she further wrote, “Today is a sad day for the pursuit of knowledge and academic freedom, and it is a happy day for proponents of the Hindu Rashtra.”
The success stories of students from IITs are well known and well circulated. However, almost always, these success stories more often than not belong to men. There are two reasons: the disproportionate number of men in IITs and discrimination faced by women and other genders in unofficial recruitment policies. Breaking away from this norm, Sneha Reddy, a student who graduated from IIT-Hyd this year has been offered a ₹1.2 crore pay package per annum by Google, the highest ever for any student of IIT-Hyd.
In another post on Campus Watch, we reported that Prakash Javadekar had reiterated the current government’s commitment to the reservation policy. Under pressure from socially marginalised sections, according to a recent report in The Telegraph, the current government is “considering a proposal to promulgate an ordinance to nullify a court order” that had called for centre or department wise reservations.
According to a circular issued by the Director of Collegiate Education to all Regional Joint Directors, the use of cell phones by students on campus is to be banned in all colleges coming under its purview. This is going to affect all the government, government-aided and self-financed institutions of the state. According to a report in The Hindu, even though no deadline has been set as of yet, DCE officials have said that the colleges were expected to comply with it as soon as they receive official communication regarding the same.
Kawalpreet Kaur took to her Facebook account on August 19, at around 1:21 a.m. in the night, alleging that she and three of her friends were “harassed and beaten up” by “goons” 7-8 in number in Vijaynagar area of North Campus. She also alleged that one of the assaulters flashed a pistol and that the police were uncooperative when informed about the same. She also shared pictures of her friends hospitalised, with blood oozing out of several gashes on their faces.
In a very important move for higher education and research in India, an investigation by IIT-Dhanbad (Indian School of Mines) looking into the allegations of scientific misconduct by two faculty members has been completed and the report is set to be sent to the board chairman for further action. According to a report, the two faculty members “have 14 papers that have been retracted and two papers have been corrected for image duplication.” No one from IIT-Dhanbad was a part of the fact-finding committee.