Tuesday, 22 Jan 2019

Biometric attendance for teachers as JNU claims receiving student complaints

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Asked who the members of the committee were, none of the officials — including three rectors, registrar, finance officer, additional dean of students, and director of admissions — could name them. They later said names “should not be revealed”.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration Monday said it will shortly introduce biometric system of attendance for teachers. It explained that one of their reasons for making attendance mandatory for teachers was that some of them were taking duty leave without informing the administration, and it had received “informal complaints” about their absenteeism from students.

“All Schools and Special Centres will shortly have a biometric attendance system. It is for students, staff and faculty attendance. We will issue smart cards, which will act as an ID card, library and health card initially… Biometric machines in the administration have been operational for quite some time now,” said Rector I Chintamani Mahapatra.

Asked about the rationale behind the move at a press interaction, he said, “… Students and staff were already marking attendance, so why should we have a separate system for them (teachers)? The UGC has given clear directions that every teacher should be present for five hours. If teachers are regularly coming, there’s no harm if they just sign a register….”

“There are cases where some teachers left the university without permission to participate in conferences and seminars. The rule says that whenever somebody applies for duty leave, they should seek permission. When we discussed the attendance issue with students informally, they raised the issue that (on occasions) they wanted to meet teachers, but their rooms were locked. So there were concerns from students as well,” he added.

On the recent entry of a ‘Ram Rath Yatra’ on campus, Mahapatra said a committee had been formed to look into it: “They should have taken permission…Why they entered, whom did they inform, all these things are a matter of investigation.” On when the committee would submit the report, Mahapatra said it was “not time-bound”.

Asked who the members of the committee were, none of the officials — including three rectors, registrar, finance officer, additional dean of students, and director of admissions — could name them. They later said names “should not be revealed”.

Reacting to allegations levelled by JNUSU that the university spent nearly Rs 13 lakh on hosting spiritual gurus, the administration clarified that Rs 87,000 spent as airfare for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was the total cost of fare for the spiritual guru and his two associates.

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