MP Manoj Jha urges Modi to recall UGC's letter for professors and teachers


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Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urging him to recall the UGC's letter to central Universities to invoke rules applicable for central government employees.

He said the University Grants Commission (UGC) had written to Universities in May directing them to follow Government of India rules/orders till the time they frame their own statutes. In its academic council meeting, the Jawaharlal Nehru University had approved the decision to bring its teachers under the Central Civil Service (Conduct) Rules, which the JNU Teachers' Association said was an attempt to curb the culture of debate and dissent.

In the letter, Jha said the "academic autonomy of teachers has hit a new low. In the last year before the general elections it is not implausible to see it as another attempt to clamp down on dissent and critique," he said.

"It is not acceptable that teachers will have to take permission from the administration as to what they can research, write and publish," he added. The Rajya Sabha MP called the UGC letter a "gag order from the government to prevent teachers from critiquing it".

"Teachers are not information portals from which data is downloaded to students who are seen as blank devices," he wrote. Jha said it appears that this "effort to enforce sociality upon teachers is to further erode the powers of democratic decision-making and deliberative nature of Academic Councils and Executive Councils of central universities".

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