No.2 in all-India
Two months ago, when Jawaharlal Nehru University was named the best Central university in India, it caused hardly a flutter in academic circles. For JNU, it was business as usual. When President Pranab Mukherjee presented the award, he explained what made JNU the cream of Indian academia. “JNU showed outstanding performance on all key parameters including the quality of students and faculty, training of faculty, citations, publications, research projects, foreign collaborations, seminars and innovative exhibitions,” said the president.
What perhaps sets JNU apart from other institutions is the importance it attaches to democracy and diversity. Debates are always encouraged in JNU. “In my opinion, what makes JNU the best university in the country is the intellectually vibrant and creative environment that exists on the campus where out-of-the-box thinking and learning through healthy debates is encouraged,” said Happymon Jacob, a faculty member. Its admission policy based on deprivation points ensure that students with diverse backgrounds from across the length and breadth of India are selected. And, right from setting the syllabus to deciding on the patterns of evaluation, the students do have a say. The students’ union election, conducted without any official involvement, is another achievement of which JNUites are justifiably proud of.
“When I think of JNU, three things come to mind,” said R. Rajesh Babu, a former JNU student, who is now professor at Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. “Its inherent interdisciplinary ethos, sense of history and the equal respect it accords to varied ideas, sociocultural backgrounds and identities make JNU the best.”