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Students to appear before Supreme Council at St Stephen’s College for admission

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St Stephen's College, Principal of St Stephen's College, John Varghese, Delhi University, Education news, Career news, Jobs news

New Delhi: The row over the decision of St Stephen’s College Principal John Varghese to include a member of the Supreme Council in the interview panel for selection of students for admission escalated on Tuesday with the college issuing a “formal warning” to a member of the Governing Body who had protested the decision.

In a letter to Nandita Narain, who on Monday issued a press release signed by three teachers of the college, Varghese said she had issued “false and irresponsible” comments to the media concerning the revised admission guidelines passed by the Supreme Council of St Stephen’s College.

“I wish to bring to your notice that what you falsely claimed as the decision of the principal is in fact the decision of the Supreme Council which has the sole power to decide on the admission policy as the college is a Christian minority institution,” Varghese said.

He said guidelines were duly reported in the governing body held on March 14, 2019 in the presence of the teachers’ representatives.

The letter, a formal letter of warning, said Narain had “deliberately” chosen to “ignore the facts”.

 

St Stephen's College, Principal of St Stephen's College, John Varghese, Delhi University, Education news, Career news, Jobs news

 

It said the press release was “complete concoction, factually and legally incorrect”, and against the code of professional ethics and ethos of the institution.

“You may take this letter as a formal warning issued to you. You are advised not to repeat such irresponsible and unbecoming behaviour in future failing which the college will be forced to take appropriate action against you,” the letter said.

The members of the Governing Body of the college had on Monday accused Varghese of taking an “illegal decision” to include a member of the Supreme Council in the interview panel for selection of students for admission to the college and sought withdrawal of the decision.

The Supreme Council is a subset of six members of the Governing Body (managing committee) who are all members of the Church of North India (CNI).

St Stephen’s College includes Supreme Council in interview panel for students’ selection:

 

In the release issued by Narain, Associate Professor in the department of mathematics, the members said that Varghese made the shocking announcement of including a member of the Supreme Council in the interview panel at a meeting of the college staff council.

The Chairperson of both the Supreme Council and the Governing Body is the Bishop of Delhi, and the Principal is the Member Secretary of both the bodies.

The release said the decision was in violation of the college constitution which categorically stipulates that the Supreme Council shall have no jurisdiction in the administration of the college.

“Never in the history of the college has a non-academic person from outside the college faculty been a member of the admission process,” the release said.

 

St Stephen's College, Principal of St Stephen's College, John Varghese, Delhi University, Education news, Career news, Jobs news

 

The Governing Body members also said that no such decision had been announced by Varghese in its meeting held on March 14.

They said the Principal had made this unilateral announcement in the Staff Council and he had acted in violation of powers.

The release said the undersigned teachers “strongly condemn the illegal and unacademic decision taken by the Principal that could compromise the academic integrity of our admission process, and demand that it is withdrawn.”

It is understood that a decision has also been taken that cut-offs for interviews could be dropped up to 25 per cent for those belonging to CNI Delhi diocese-which manages the college-compared to the general category students.

 

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Union government clears air about reopening of schools in the country: Read here

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With coronavirus cases beginning to drastically drop in India over the last weeks, talks have been growing regarding the reopening of schools. However, as India begins unlocking of COVID-19 restrictions, experts have warned that a third wave is “inevitable”. After a horrifying second wave and speculations that the next pandemic wave may affect children, NITI Aayog (health) member Dr VK Paul cleared some doubts concerning parents, children and teachers and said that the government will consider reopening of schools only when majority of teachers and staff are vaccinated.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Dr VK Paul on Friday said that, “A lot of things need to be considered while deciding on the reopening schools. This is a question that keeps coming up.”

“The time should come soon. But we must also consider how schools were reopened in foreign countries and they had to close after the outbreak. We do not want to put our students and teachers in such a situation,” Dr Paul said.

The NITI Aayog member explained that reopening schools before the pandemic settles or till sufficient people are vaccinated against the viral infection.

“…we should also remember that in many countries schools reopened, then outbreaks were reported and they had to shut them down again. We don’t want to put our children and teachers in that situation unless we have more confidence that the pandemic won’t harm us. Discussion on reopening of schools remains a part of the larger discourse but information that seroprevalence remain equal among children will be useful data,” he said.

The NITI Aayog member’s statement comes after a WHO-AIIMS survey which stated that the COVID-19 seroprevalence in the age group below 18 is 55.7 per cent and above 18 is 63.5 per cent. The survey clarified that the SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity rate in children is comparable to that in adults, hence, there is no statistical evidence to show that children of age group 2-17 years will be more vulnerable in the third wave.

Schools have been shut in India since the end of March last year when the COVID-19 pandemic began. While some states started reopening schools for a brief period towards the end of first wave, all schools were shut again when the deadly second wave pandemic broke out.

In other news, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) released the detailed assessment plan for the tabulation of marks for the Class 12 board examination 2021 and stated that the marks scored by students in their Class 10, 11 and 12 would be considered in place of the cancelled Class 12 examination in the ratio of 30%, 30% and 40%. On Friday, the board also released a notification announcing that an IT system is being developed to assist schools in the preparation of Class 12 results.

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