Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022
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Nothing Academic About It

A new home ministry guideline restricting foreign participation in conferences confounds Indian academics

Nothing Academic About It
Illustration by Saurabh Singh
Nothing Academic About It
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

According to this order— issued by the ministry of home affairs on September 1, 2000, and circulated by the hrd ministry on January 18, 2001, to the registrars of all universities and deemed universities—this clearance is required especially for participants coming from all neighbouring countries except Nepal. The move has left academics stunned. As one Jawaharlal Nehru University don put it: "This will hamper academic freedom and is aimed at exercising greater government control over educational institutions."

It was only nine months after it was issued that the circular came to the notice of the academic community, in May 2001. The jnu Teachers' Association (jnuta) was the first teachers' body to take note of it and issue a statement in criticism. In fact, when former jnuta president Kamal Mitra Chenoy came across the circular and raised the issue in jnuta, the executive committee members were not even aware of such an order.

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