Correcting an academic anomaly

Education & Career Headlines

Responding to a representation made by JNU’s Alumni Association, the Bihar State University Service Commission has agreed to recognise MA Politics (with specialisation in International Relations) as equivalent to PG degree in Political Science. Thus, the employment prospects of JNU students will no longer be jeopardised

In a commendable initiative, Alumni Association of JNU (AAJ) has safeguarded the interests of several students awarded with MA in Politics (International Relations) degree from the country’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University who had applied for the posts of ‘Assistant Professor-Political Science’ advertised by the Bihar State University Service Commission (BSUSC). Strangely, BSUSC vide its advertisement no. AP-POLI-13/20-21 dated 21st September 2020, had recognized Public Administration, which is as an allied subject of Political Science but not International Relations (IR) as an equivalent/concerned/relevant/allied subject. In order to highlight the injustice meted out to the students having obtained JNU degree, the AAJ petitioned Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the then Deputy CM Shri Sushil Modi, and BSUSC chairman Dr Rajyavardhan Azad, pointing out that hundreds of students having MA in Politics (IR) Degree from JNU’s School of International Studies face entry-level discrimination in the process of the recruitment of 280 posts for Assistant Professors in Political Science as advertised by the BSUSC. Much to the reprieve of such candidates, BSUSC revised its advertisement two days ago and recognised their eligibility to apply for the said posts.

“The exclusion of MA in Politics (IR) from the purview of the equivalent/ concerned/relevant/allied subject list of Political Science is a gross injustice to the MA in Politics (International Relations) students as far as their career opportunities & academic prospects are concerned. In essence, such a denial of opportunity in Bihar is against the spirit of the Constitution which also means that the MA (Political Science) students having expertise in IR will not be able to impart their valuable knowledge to the students of Bihar. This will not only adversely affect the employment prospects but severely restrict the scope of academic scholarship & research in the domain of Political Science (IR) in various universities of Bihar in the times to come. This is discriminatory as well as against the interests of the educational system in Bihar and the entire country,” pointed out the AAJ’s letter.

JNU’s official alumni body AAJ substantiated its points by presenting the following facts for the perusal and consideration of Chairman, BSUSC:

The MA in Politics (with specialization in IR) programme offered by the School of International Studies (SIS), JNU is equivalent to the MA in Political Science as the course includes Political Thought I, Political Thought II, Indian Political System, Comparative Political Analysis, Indian Foreign Policy, Political Geography, International Organizations and Theories and Problems of International Relations which are the core papers of Political Science at master’s level taught across the country in various universities.

The letter further underscored the fact that candidates with an MA degree in Politics (with specialization in IR) are allowed to appear for NET examinations for lectureship in ‘International and Area Studies’ as well as ‘Political Science’. The UGC has clearly mentioned vide D.O. No. F. 1-7/99 (JS-NET) dated 17th December 1999, that the two NET qualifications are to be treated at par. Also, many students of MA (Politics) have qualified NET exam in Political Science as well.

AAJ President and General Secretary with JNU Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar Says Rajesh Kumar, President, AAJ: “It was highly illogical not to consider International Relations as an allied subject of Political Science. In the examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC), and other state public service commissions, the ‘IR’ subject is considered as an optional subject of Political Science. Many students of MA in Politics (with specialization in IR) are employed as permanent faculties of Political Science in several esteemed academic institutions such as the JNU, University of Delhi, and the Central University of Gujarat. Besides various central universities, many students with a degree of MA in Politics (with specialization in IR) are employed as permanent faculties in various state universities across India. We are thankful to the chairman, BSUSC for looking into our representation and thereby protecting the rights of JN students by recognising MA in Politics (IR) as equivalent to post-graduation in Political Science.”

Significantly, the UP Higher Education Commission too vide its communique 8 (47) dated July 13, 2016, recognised the allied/related nature of IR within the larger discipline of Political Science. Subsequently, it has allowed the candidates with an IR degree to apply for the post of Assistant Professors in Political Science.

Says Dr Dhiraj K Singh, General Secretary, AAJ: “In the past, the UP Public Service Commission (UPPSC) has selected the candidates of IR as Assistant Professors in Political Science. Similarly, the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission (MPPSC) has also allowed the IR degree-holders to apply for the posts of Assistant Professors in Political Science. Many candidates with IR degrees selected by these commissions are serving in various colleges across UP and MP. Hence, there exists enough logical, just, fair and sound precedence and substance in considering MA in Politics (with specialization in IR) as equivalent to MA in Political Science.”

AAJ meeting in progress

“It may be recalled that earlier in 2014 too BSUSC had denied employment opportunities to hundreds of the post-graduate students having a degree in Politics with specialisation in IR from JNU and the affected students then had taken the issue to the judiciary which kept the matter sub-judice,” said Dr Binod Kumar Singh, AAJ Vice President. This is despite the fact the BSUSC aims to recommend teachers having excellence in teaching and research with innovative ideas in a transparent way through all-India recruitment. The Commission has been constituted to appoint university teachers at various levels such as Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Professor to improve academic standards in the entire state. And, its avowed mission is to select such teachers who can change the scenario of higher education in Bihar.

At last, the BSUSC has done justice to the meritorious candidates who can rightly act as changemakers in the educational sphere.

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