The Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan praised the Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor M Jagdesh Kumar for introducing a new course on ‘counter-terrorism’.
The minister said if the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) can discuss counter-terrorism, why can’t an Indian university. He was speaking at a meeting of central universities vice-chancellors on Friday (September 3).
“Our engineers today are not just engineers. They are involved in building social products. So if a course helps engineering students understand the kind of hindrances they could face in the development of social products, then I congratulate JNU for introducing such a course,” said Minister Pradhan.
Earlier, as reported by the Organiser, JNU VC M Jagdesh Kumar had defended the decision.
The JNU Vice-Chancellor Prof M Jagadesh Kumar defended the university’s decision to introduce a new optional course, “Counter-Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation Among Major Powers” for its engineering students.
“During the past few days, there was a needless controversy… without going into the academic merits of the course. The objective of the course, ‘Counter-Terrorism, Asymmetric Conflicts and Strategies for Cooperation among Major Powers’, is mainly to have an in-depth understanding of the challenges emanating from terrorism to India’s national security and how India can get equipped with adequate responses in the case of any eventuality” Prof Kumar said in a statement.
He had added, “The way things have unfolded in India’s neighbourhood are proving highly detrimental to India’s national security. It is imperative that an academic institution like JNU takes the lead and builds a good set of counter-terrorism specialists. India urgently needs a critical mass of such specialists in this field.”
He had also said the curriculum was designed keeping in mind “the terrorist activities at the global level and India’s experience in handling them.”
"There is a need to further evolve India’s perspective in a balanced and objective manner. This course has the potential to build a strong narrative for India. An in-depth understanding of various global and regional terrorist networks is a part of the curriculum of this course. How India has witnessed the rise of religious fundamentalism and radicalisation through perverse ideologies in its neighbourhood is an area where a lot of knowledge is needed to deal with emerging situations,” the VC Prof Kumar said.
Commenting on the nature of the curriculum, the VC had said “The curriculum is holistic and also contains sections on the role of intelligence information and counter-terrorism cooperation among major powers. There is a section on best practices of counter-terrorism and the major global and regional efforts in counter-terrorism. Science and Technology to counter-terrorism will also be taught to students. This course will give a broad-based knowledge to engineering students.”