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‘If MIT can, why can’t we?’ — Education minister lauds JNU for ‘counter-terrorism’ course

During a virtual meeting with central universities’ V-Cs, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan refers to student protests across campuses and calls for maintaining teaching-learning process.

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New Delhi: Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Friday applauded Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar for starting a new course on ‘counter-terrorism’ at the university in the national capital.

Addressing a virtual meeting of V-Cs of central universities across the country, Pradhan said JNU took a great step by launching a course on counter-terrorism.

“If universities like MIT can discuss topics like terrorism and counter-terrorism on their platforms, why can’t we discuss it in our universities?” he said, congratulating the JNU V-C. “We should all know what will be the state of terrorism in future. If students learn this at the university, it’s not bad.”

The JNU course, which was approved by the executive council Thursday, is titled ‘Counter Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers’. It courted controversy for allegedly peddling the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology.

The course reportedly says that “jihadi terrorism” is the only form of “fundamentalist-religious terrorism”.

The minister also referred to student protests across campuses and urged the V-Cs to “maintain the teaching-learning process”.

“There will be rebellion in the university, but the main aim of a university is teaching, learning and V-Cs should be the custodians to ensure that it happens,” he said.

Also read: DU’s new FYUP won’t be like failed 2013 attempt, will be student-centric, says acting VC 

Discussion on NEP, vacant posts 

During the meeting, Pradhan also spoke about the implementation of the new National Education Policy (NEP) and praised Delhi University for starting the four-year undergraduate programme from the next academic session. 

He also urged universities to create a vertical for implementation of the policy. “I am confident that some of you are already doing that, but I urge you all to create a vertical within yourself to better implement the new education policy,” he said.

Sources present in the meeting said all the central universities made a presentation in front of the minister to apprise him of the vacancies, and asked him for directions on filling them up.

Responding to the request, the minister asked universities to work on filling up vacant teaching posts on a “mission mode”.

“Try to fill the vacant posts across universities in a mission mode. All universities should release advertisements to fill up the posts in an aggressive manner and ensure that vacant teaching posts are filled. From 6-10 September, universities should take out continuous ads to fill up the vacant posts,” the minister said.

The minister further spoke about the challenges that universities faced because of the Covid-19 pandemic and informed about the vaccination status of teachers in universities and colleges. So far, 15.2 crore teachers across universities have been vaccinated with the second dose, he said.

The ministry is keeping a tab on the vaccination numbers for teachers, both at the school and higher education level.

Also read: Beaming Delhi students return to school after 17 months, but rains, Covid worries hit attendance


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