Excerpts from Vice-Chancellor's speech delivered on 9 December, 2011 at the University Court Meeting
I have great pleasure in welcoming our Chancellor, Professor Yash Pal, Hon'ble Members of Parliament, other distinguished members, my colleagues and officers to the thirty-ninth meeting of the JNU Court. I also extend my hearty congratulations to the Chancellor for having been presented with the 12th Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award by the President of India for excellence in public administration, academics and management in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of astrophysics, space technology and education, and most importantly for popularizing science. Professor Yashpal is a scientist and educator of great repute having held many positions within the educational establishment of the Government of India. His recent book entitled 'Random Curiosity' reflects the mind of a genius. We hope for his good health and continuous guidance.
This year the Court meeting is being held the second time. The first meeting was held in April 2011, where the Annual and Financial Report for the period of 2009-10 was placed. In today's meeting, the period under report is 2010-11. Henceforth, we propose to hold the annual meeting around this time as the Annual Report and the Audited Statement of Accounts for the preceding year are required to be placed before both the Houses of Parliament in the ‘Winter Session of Parliament’. It is gratifying that Hon'ble Members of Parliament have spared time to attend the University's Court meeting in spite of their pre-occupation with the current Session of the Parliament, and I thank them for showing interest in the affairs of the University. As I mentioned in the last meeting, JNU is a unique institution of higher education in India with a global reach, which has made it an institution of national importance. Since its inception, the University has brought frontier disciplines and newer perspectives for old disciplines to the Indian University system. As in the academic structure, so in its teaching process and evaluation pattern, JNU departs from the well-trodden path by emphasizing the continuity of the learning process rather than isolating the final examination as the only tool of measuring achievement. Updation of curriculum and a focused research-orientation with inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary approach is the underlying requirement to equip our students with greater competencies to enable them to excel in their areas of work. One of our objectives is to improve the academic and administrative performance and to promote measures for institutional functioning towards quality enhancement through internalization of quality culture and institutionalization of best practices. One such area in which we have done this successfully is our admission process. This achievement is in no small measure due to our constant interactions with faculty, students, academia and institutions outside and, more importantly, valued inputs that we receive from distinguished members of this august body from time to time.
Before I highlight achievements of the reporting period, I would like to introduce my current team of officers. Professor Sudha Pai, a Professor in Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, is the Rector. Professor Abdul Nafey, a Professor in the Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, School of International Studies, is the Dean of Students. Professor Himadri Bohidar, a Professor in the School of Physical Sciences, is the Chief Proctor. Shri Sandeep Chatterjee is the Registrar, Shri Rakesh Kumar Verma is the Finance Officer and Dr. S. Chandrasekaran is the Coordinator (Evaluation). Dr. Ramesh Chandra Gaur has joined recently as Librarian and Dr. Sachidananda Sinha, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences is the Associate Dean of Students.
Members are aware that the XI Plan is concluding in a few months from now. The University has made considerable progress during this period despite 50 per cent cut in the non-salary budget in the Non-Plan Grant two years back which has slowed down the pace of upgradations, renovations and various infrastructural projects. A distinguished member of this august body had opined in the last meeting that since the XI Plan is nearing completion, broad achievements of the University during the current Plan period should also be highlighted. Acc-ordingly, with the permission of the House, I would like to summarize here some of the initiatives/achievements as part of XI Plan and OBC grant schemes which may seem to be repetitive in some cases but necessary for information of the members.
XI Plan Achievements:
New Centres/Programmes established:
Media Research Centre in the School of Social Sciences.
Centre for Studies in Informal Economy in the School of Social Sciences.
Special Centre for Nano Sciences.
A programme for Complex Systems Studies in the School of Computational and Integrative Sciences.
Upgradation of the Group of Comparative Politics and Political Theory in the School of International Studies to a full-fledged Centre as Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory.
Centre for West Asian and African Studies in the School of International Studies has been bifurcated into two Centres, namely (i) Centre for West Asian Studies, and (ii) Centre for African Studies.
Academic Programmes Introduced/ Integrated:
Integration of direct Ph.D. programmes of School of Arts & Aesthetics with existing M.Phil programmes from the academic session 2009-10; now they are to be known as M.Phil/Ph.D. programmes in Visual Studies, Performance Studies and Film Studies.
M.Phil/Ph.D. programme in Tamil in the Centre of Indian Languages, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, from the academic session 2009-10.
Introduction of Pre-Ph.D./Ph.D. programme in Chemical Sciences and Ph.D. programme in Mathematics in the School of Physical Sciences.
Strengthening research programmes in North East India Studies and Human Rights Programme.
Introduction of Direct Ph.D. Programme in Women's Studies Programme in the School of Social Sciences in the session 2009-10.
Introduction of direct Ph.D. programme in Study of Discrimination and Exclusion in the School of Social Sciences in the session 2009-10.
Increased the duration of Master of Public Health Programme from three semesters to four semesters in the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences.
Revision of course structures of various programmes which is a continuous process.
Students Strength: The strength stood at 5454 in 2007 which has increased to 7305 during the academic year 2011-12.
Degrees Awarded: Number of M.Phil/M.Tech and Ph.D degrees awarded during the last five years on an average are 450 and 230 per year. Total degrees awarded in 2010-11 were 2883. This figure is expected to increase further this year.
Faculty Publications: Research output of the faculty has increased over the years. On an average 130 books, 225 chapters in books and 500 research articles in journals are published every year.
Patents: IPM cell was set up in 2006 with a vision to assist the University to manage its intellectual property (IP) by providing assistance to file patent applications in India/abroad, help in copyright issues, reviewing licensing and related documents and to facilitate technology transfer to industries to help the society to enjoy the fruits of invention.
Construction of Buildings: Construction of new academic and other buildings has been undertaken. Repairs/renovations have been done in the library, hostels, classrooms, staff houses and new facilities have been created which are listed below:
Construction of new buildings (1) Koyna Hostel, (2) Shipra Hostel for girls, each 540 seats' capacity, and (3) Academic building for the School of Physical Sciences. These have been made operational.
Construction of JNU Convention Centre (centrally air-conditioned) with audiovisual facility.
Construction of academic building of Special Centre for Molecular Medicine (SCMM) with centrally air-conditioned facility.
Construction of three new annexe academic buildings for (1) School of Social Sciences, (2) School of International Studies, and (3) School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, in addition to academic building of School of Computational and Integrative Sciences, is in progress.
Construction of 112 multi-story dwelling units has been completed and will be available for allotment shortly.
Construction of Type-III houses for Karmacharis is also in progress.
Construction of Animal House with central air-conditioning system of 100 TR capacity is nearing completion.
Construction of a new sub-station building with 2x1000 KVA transformers near Advanced Instrumentation Research Facility for new academic buildings.
Construction of an underground pump of 10 lakhs litres capacity along with a Pump House and its & connecting pipeline has been completed.
University would need additional funds to complete some of the projects under construction, particularly the annexe academic buildings due to an all-round cost escalation.
Renovations: Renovations of Classrooms, the Cyber Library, Road re-surfacing, renovation of Advanced Instrumentation Facility including security access, Construction of toilets in the Brahmaputra Hostel, providing and laying storm water drains in hostels, renovation of officers' rooms in administration building, renovation of staff quarters (from Zero to Type-VI), renovation of Gomti Guest House, construction of Pump House, renovation of dining halls of hostels, upgradation of electrical sub-station, repair of sewer line, construction of badminton courts in hostels, replacement of old AC units in the Central Library and renovation of the library, and also repair/renovation of hostels, which is in progress.
The Language Laboratory Complex in the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, one of the best facilities, is equipped with audio-video and multi-media facilities, including a studio.
Upgradation and renovation of existing physical structures is a continuous process requiring regular flow of adequate funds. JNU is a residential University which is spread over more than 1000 acres of land and provides residential accommodation to students, faculty members and employees.
Computerization of library and providing more than 200 computers and other computer peripherals to the library for use of students;
Providing computers and other computer peripherals to all faculty members and all offices in administration and Schools/Centres etc.
The University has also established a Day Care Centre for children of staff members’ children.
Now, I turn to activities during 2010-11, though some of these also form part of illustrations made above.
On behalf of the Executive Council of the University, I have great pleasure in placing before you the 41st Annual Report for the period 2010-11 in fulfillment of the requirements of Statute 12(1) of the University Act and Statutes of the University. The Finance Officer shall present the Annual Accounts for the year 2010-11 and the Budget and Financial Estimates for 2012-13.
The reporting period (2010-11) also saw a steady rise in the number of candidates seeking admission, both from India and abroad. Through the Entrance Examinations in 2010-2011, the University admitted 1888 students from all parts of India, besides 100 foreign nationals representing 32 countries. For the current academic year 2011-12, the corresponding figures are: 1935 students from all parts of India and 115 from abroad.
The number of female students admitted to JNU has been increasing steadily. In fact, girls now outnumber boys in new admissions in several schools.
The total strength of full-time students on the rolls of the University in 2010-11 was 6665. Of them, 3864 students belonged to M.Phil/M.Tech./Ph.D. programs of study, 1827 students were enrolled for MA/MSc./MCA, and 974 students in the undergraduate programs in the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies.
In terms of the student-profile of the total students on rolls, 913 students come from the Scheduled Caste, 558 students come from the Scheduled Tribe, 154 students under the Physically Challenged category, 1214 students under Other Backward Classes (OBC) (non-creamy layer), foreign national students work out to 267, and the general category students are 3559.
Publications: The faculty of the university has published about 121 books, more than 186 chapters in edited volumes, published over 482 journal articles, about 777 general research papers/articles/media articles and conference papers, and participated in about 1095 conferences/seminars/ workshops. Besides, over 684 lectures were delivered outside the University during the period under report.
Research Projects: About 302 research projects are running during this reporting period. Funds received through sponsored projects were to the extent of over Rs 31.5 crores which support the research endeavours of our faculty in various Centres/Schools.
Awards/Recognitions to Faculty: As in the preceding year, during the period under report also, JNU faculty has been conferred with several prestigious national and international awards, recognitions and fellowships of academies.
Students' Activities: I am happy to inform this august body that participation of our students in national/international seminars/conferences has been increasing year after year. Several of their papers have been accepted for presentation in these conferences/seminars both within and outside the country. They have won awards and medals also. The University provides financial support to Ph.D. students for presentation of papers in seminars/conferences. Besides, students participated in various cultural and co-curricular activities. International students also organized various activities-e.g., International Culture Evening, International AIDS Day in solidarity with Worlds AIDS Day, 25 years of ISA's diversity, exhibition on International Mother Language Day, and India-Africa Meet-3 jointly with Rotary Club of South Delhi. International students also offered a Kaleidoscope of the World through their Country Presentation Series and brought out the first International Students' Association Newsletter highlighting their multi-faceted activities.
Endowments and Fellowships: The University has established several endowments with support from the Government of India, State Governments, the University Grants Commission, public financial institutions like RBI and SBI; foreign governments under collaborative arrangements, and distinguished public figures, and instituted chairs, scholarships, fellowships, awards and memorial lectures.
Welfare of Weaker Sections: A number of steps have been taken as part of the endeavour to promote the principles for which Jawaharlal Nehru worked during his life time and in whose name this great University has been established.
Fellowships: Besides fellowships awarded by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Biotechnology, some of the State Governments etc., the University awards scholarships/fellowships/medals to deserving students out of several endowments that have been established.
Distinguished Visitors to the University: Several distinguished Nobel Laureates/scholars, dignitaries, Ambassadors and high ranking professionals visited the University either to participate in the seminars/conferences organized by Centres /Schools or as part of delegations for collaborative pursuits and to interact on academic and research interests.
The University Library is a knowledge centre which has rich resources in Social Sciences, Humanities and Sciences and is the hub of all academic activities of the University. It is completely automated. To meet the needs of the visually impaired students, a special unit named after Hellen Keller has been established with twenty four computers installed exclusively for the use of visually impaired students. An information browsing Unit has also been created for the faculty. The library has 200 computers for students and research scholars to access the available online resources.
The library acquired 5609 volumes during the year. The total library collection stood at 5,63,061 at the end of the year under report. The expenditure on purchase of books was Rs 18.05 lakh, while Rs 4.69 crore was spent on subscription to journals. About 17 e-journal/online data bases were subscribed to. Besides, the entire collection of the JNU library including language books can be searched through the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC).
Advanced Instrumentation Research Facility (AIRF) is involved in facilitating and catering to the interdisciplinary applications of research to all the Science Schools, School of Social Sciences (in the field of material research) at the University, academic/research institutes and the private companies/ industries in and outside Delhi. It has a specialized research laboratory facility with 21 major sophisticated state of art instruments and about 14 minor equipments/laboratory facilities. During 2010-11, it has strengthened its sophisticated equipment base and contributed significantly in organizing training programmes, seminars/conferences and a number of distinguished scholars and dignitaries both from within the country and abroad have visited the facility.
The Academic Staff College: The main objective of ASC is to plan, organize, implement, monitor and evaluate orientation programmes and refresher courses for the newly recruited in-service teachers, academicians and administrators associated with the University system. ASC, JNU, since its establishment in 1989, has been organizing orientation programmes for the college principals and academic administrators of the colleges and universities to update them with the development in the higher education sector through interaction with well experienced resource persons from wide domains of knowledge.
The University Health Centre provides specialized services in the fields of Cardiology, Dentistry, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Dermatology, Orthopedics and ENT. Besides a 24x7 ambulance service fitted with medical gadgets and a Doctor are available. Students and retired employees are given medicine from the Pharmacy of the Health Centre.
Gender Sensitization Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH): The GSCASH as a formal body was set up by JNU in 1999. This body has the mandate to implement the JNU Policy against Sexual Harassment as also the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court of India. During the year GSCASH organized public meetings on gender sensitivity on the campus and poster workshops to increase visibility of GSCASH and to spread the message of gender equity organized an international seminar on the occasion of Women's Day.
Alumni Affairs: The Alumni Cell organized a number of activities to develop Alumni Network of JNU which included:
• JNU Alumni Annual Meet,
• Publication of its Souvenir (2010),
• Creating a data base of JNU Alumni, and
• Creating an Alumni Website on JNU Website.
JNU takes pride in its alumni who have excelled in various fields. We have been apprising this august body from time to time about the immense contributions and achievements of the JNU alumni. Three of the alumni who have reached the pinnacle of their careers and have visited the University recently are: Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Prime Minister of Nepal, Ms Vibha Puri Das, Secretary (Higher Education), Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and Mr. Ajit Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Government of India.
International Collaboration: Establishing academic linkages with foreign institutions/ universities of repute is a continuous process that the University is trying to strengthen further for mutual benefit. There are two types of agreements: Agreement of Cooperation (AoCs) at the School level and Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) at the University level i.e. where more than one school is involved in cooperation. JNU has signed a total of 118 MoUs, 45 AoCs and 8 Student Exchange Agreements with different national/international university/institutes till 31st March 2011. As part of these MoUs and AoCs, faculty and students from various overseas universities/institutions visit the University and our faculty and students visit those universities to conduct joint research and for field work, to organize joint seminars/conferences and to participate in seminars/conferences for mutual benefit.
Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study (JNIAS) conceived as simultaneously a self-contained site of scholarly pursuits in an environment of intellectual fellowship, and a source of academic enrichment for the University, hosts scholars from all over the world, who despite their diverse disciplinary backgrounds are able to engage in an intellectual conversation that enriches them and benefits the Institute as well as the wider university community.
Sports Activities: Participation of students in sports activities is also important. The University has a good stadium and about 11 sports clubs which are active in organizing inter-hostel competitions every year, besides, inter-school and the annual competitions. Additionally, all the hostels have arrangements for indoor games. The Yoga Kendra has been rendering valuable service to University community. Besides attending to 50-60 persons every day, the Yoga Kendra has been organizing crash courses on yoga with encouraging response.
Single-window Admission: I am happy to report that this year, Single-Window computerized system of admission registration was introduced by developing an appropriate data-base, effectively reducing the number of forms used and signatures obtained in the previous years and making the entire admission process less time consuming and smooth. We propose to improve upon this further and to receive on-line admission applications next year. I thank Prof. Rajiv Bhatt, Director of Admissions, Coordinator (Evaluation) Dr. S. Chandrasekaran, staff members in the Admissions Branch and the Communication and Information Services for facilitating the Single-Window System.
English Language Cell: The students of JNU come from all over India with enormous heterogeneity and diversity in their training and exposure to English Language. In order to help them, English Language Cell created recently has introduced two foundation courses in English namely Basic Communication Skills and English for Academic Writing.
Institutional Ethics Review Board: Institutional Ethics Review Board constituted in 2008 has been involved in the review of the proposals received from the faculty and students (M.Phil and Ph.D. researchers) of JNU for research on human subjects. IERB has now bought out a document, recommending application of following principles to all research carried out in the University as per national and international norms and guidelines: (a) informed consent and respect for confidentiality, (b) consideration for vulnerable people and consideration of risks and maximized benefit, minimized harm.
Census Data Centre: A Census Data Centre has been established at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, in collaboration with the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, which is first of its kind in any university. This Centre will help researchers to carry out in-depth analysis of social-economic demographic conditions of India's population.
XII Plan Planning Group: The XI Plan will conclude in the next few months. We have already set up a Planning Group under the Chairpersonship of the Rector with all Deans of Schools/Chairpersons of Special Centres as members to facilitate deliberations at various levels to prepare a comprehensive 12th Plan document keeping the University's Charter in view.
NAAC: JNU has accepted, in principle, accreditation by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). Towards this end, the University has prepared the requisite document which is being finalized for submission.
Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC): has been established as per UGC/National Assessment Accreditation Council (NAAC) guidelines.
Equal Opportunity Office: has been re-organized to assist in conducting remedial classes in English language, Computer skills and to cater to the needs of students from varying background to meet the challenges of higher education and research.
Efforts are being taken up with various agencies for making JNU a totally barrier-free Campus.
Enhanced Internet Accessibility: The University serves as a Point of Presence (POP) for the National Knowledge network which has enabled this flagship project of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to connect not just the University but the surrounding institutes with high speed gigabit internet bandwidth. The entire academic complex has been Wi-Fi enabled (using the high-bandwidth 802.11N standard). In addition, JNU has signed an MoU with MTNL which enables the University faculty and students to access all online resources through their 3G services. This has been particularly useful for non-resident faculty and students to access Library resources from outside the Campus.
JNU Vision Group: In the year 2019-2020, JNU will celebrate its Golden Jubilee Year. It is envisaged to look back and think ahead and plan the University's teaching and research so that JNU can assert its relevance and maintain its status as a pre-eminent University of innovation and social change and attain its position amongst the top universities. To maintain and achieve the objectives, a JNU Vision Group has been set up. The Group will assess our strengths and indicate the areas for improvement and set new goals that can lead to enhanced performance and, in specific, look into the following issues and suggest changes, if needed, in tune with the future teaching, research and other academic requirements of the University.
(a) Organization and restructuring of courses/research programmes and developing new programmes,
(b) What administrative changes need to be implemented to foster interdisciplinary teaching and research?
(c) How to support students of all sections to achieve the excellence in their academic career?
(d) Infrastructure for academic and other activities to achieve our objectives, and how should JNU maintain its pre-eminent status in the country and become a world class University?
We welcome suggestions from the members of the Court to help us prepare our Vision document.
Energy Conservation: The University has taken a number of measures to save energy and to reduce energy costs. These include diversification of existing solar water heating systems in hostels and switch-over to safer and more energy saving devices on the Campus. In order to coordinate and oversee various aspects, a senior officer has been nominated as Nodal Officer. Through this initiative, the University has saved Rs. 40 lakhs (approximately) during the last one year. Besides, some Green buildings have also come up which will go a long way in saving energy in the future, to the extent of Rs. 1 crore per annum.
Finally, I venture to inform this august house that our respected Professor Yash Pal, will be completing his successful term as the Chancellor of the University in March 2012. Professor Yash Pal has provided invaluable guidance and support in the development of this premier institution. The University has benefited greatly by his scholastic leadership. All of us cherish his close association with the affairs of the University, and we look forward to his continued support and guidance in future also. On behalf of the University and on my own behalf, I would like to pray for his good health and well-being.
I would also like to thank the hon'ble Members of Parliament for offering their constructive views, and my distinguished academic colleagues, both from the University and outside JNU for valuable inputs, and officers of the University for their active support and cooperation. I seek your continued help and assistance in the march to take the University forward.
Sudhir Kumar Sopory