Online research ‘a myth’, claim JNU scholars


NEW DELHI: A survey conducted by JNU students has called online research “a myth” and claimed that research work has been badly hit due to Covid-19.

Over 67% research scholars at Jawaharlal Nehru University are dependent on the material available on the campus as many don’t have regular internet access, claimed the survey, which was conducted between June 27 and July 6 among 530 research scholars who had to leave the campus in March when it was shut due to the pandemic. The situation has triggered anxiety among 87% of the research scholars, it added.

The survey, conducted by three research scholars, has found that four out of five — 78.1% — scholars could not even take enough research resources from their hostels, library lockers and laboratories while leaving for home. JNU Students’ Union has been demanding that the campus be reopened at least for research scholars.

Nearly three-fifth (67.2%) of the respondents also reported that they would have to access resources outside JNU — both inside the country and abroad, while the rest said the resources available at JNU would be adequate for their research.

Alamu R, one of the scholars who had conducted the survey, said only 35.8% research scholars got 4G data speed, while 14.9% had access to 3G or 2G speed. “Those who do not have any access to internet constitute 8.1% of the sample. This shows that online research is a myth as even primary data collection and research cannot be replaced by digital sources. We also see disproportionate access to electricity,” she said.

Many scholars are also facing a financial crisis due to the discontinuity in disbursal of their fellowships. At least 66.2% have not received any money since the pandemic has struck and 40.1% are using their fellowship money to support their families.

While 85.4 % of the scholars — most having submission dates by this December — have sought a research period extension, close to 71.9% stated they won’t be able to submit their thesis without an extension. Among the scholars, 79.2% have also asked for fellowships during the extended period.

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