New Delhi: In what is likely to be a possible fallout of the sedition row, involving some of its students, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has witnessed a decline in fresh applications for admission to various courses offered by the prestigious university.
According to reports, JNU has received over 76,000 applications for admission to the upcoming academic session for around 2,700 seats in various programmes offered at the university - 3,000 less than previous year.
While around 79,000 applications were received last year, about 72,000 candidates had applied in 2014.
In the wake of a controversy over an event sympathising with the executed Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, concerns were raised whether the university's image will suffer a setback because of the row.
"The number of applications received are 28 times more than the number of seats. This reflects the kind of competition which exists among admission seekers for the university," Bhupinder Zutshi, Director Admissions was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Asked about whether the decrease of 3,000 is because of the controversy which hit the university around the same time when the application process was on, the official said, "in the recent years a fluctuation of around 3,000-4,000 applications has been witnessed off and on. The trends of any of the years cannot be attributed to a particular reason".
According to the data available with the university's admissions department, 76,091 applications have been received for the 2,700 seats available for undergraduate, master's and research programmes at JNU. The month-long application period closed last week and the entrance exams for the courses will be held next month.
Mr Zutshi, however, clarified that the figures are only for the applications received for the JNU common entrance examination. There are two more application categories - Combined entrance programme for Bio-Technology programme and NET-JRF candidates.
Members of the university's teachers association argue that the alleged branding of the university as "anti-national" in wake of the sedition row, is a "superfluous" notion which exists only in a section of society and not among admission seekers.
"The intellectual section of the society which is aware of the kind of research and education system JNU stands for, knows that the so called anti-national theory is a superfluous one and the admission seekers are very much aware of the reality," a member of JNUTA said.
After the controversy broke out, the varsity's Centre for Social Studies was ranked at 51st position in the QS World rankings, up by 7 ranks compared to previous year.
The university was also announced as winner of the President's award for excellence in research and innovation.
President Pranab Mukherjee had presented the award to the Molecular Parasitology Group of JNU for its pioneering work in the area of molecular parasitology, especially anti-malaria, leishmaniasis and amoebiasis.
With PTI inputs