New Delhi: Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday that Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) got the best university award for its good work and not for the controversy last year during which the Vice Chancellor was taken hostage.
"Recently JNU was given best university award. This was not given for making the Vice Chancellor hostage but for the good works done by the university. These good works don't come into the limelight," Javadekar said in the Lok Sabha while concluding the debate on the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Javadekar's remarks came after Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge objected to the Minister's reference of vacancies in JNU.
Pointing out to the vacancies of professors in JNU, Javadekar said: "There are over 100 vacancies for SCs/STs in JNU while around 25 posts of disabled professors are vacant since long ago."
Kharge objected to it saying, not only in JNU but several posts are lying vacant in Central Universities, and the minister should respond to such vacancies.
"I know why you are raking up JNU only," Kharge said.
JNU, which has been at the centre of controversies for over a year, has bagged the annual 'Visitor's Award' for the best varsity in the country.
Students of JNU had in October last year staged protests outside the administrative Block, forcing the Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar and Rectors to remain confined inside the building, over the disappearance of student Najeeb Ahmed.
Earlier, three of its students were arrested on sedition charges in connection with an event on the campus during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised.
Responding to members' queries, Javadekar said that vacancies in universities are a serious issue and there are many reasons for it.
"There are vacancies in central universities, state universities and also in private universities. We are trying to constitute a dynamic platform where all vacancies will be exhibited on our website," he said.
The Minister said that for filling up the vacancies the government needs to create an atmosphere where students prefer to be teachers and professors.
''We need to create interest among students so they could prefer this profession," he said.
Javadekar said that whenever he visited any university, he always asked students: "Who wants to be a teacher? Who wants to be a professor?"
"Recently I visited an IIT where I asked the same question to students. I was very happy when majority of students said they want to join the teaching line," he said.
He also expressed concern over the cases of suicides on campuses.
"Even a single case of suicide in campuses is unfortunate," the minister said.