An official notice released on the university’s site acknowledged the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases. Finally, after united efforts by students, teachers and organisations, the online classes have been suspended till 16th May, as per the released notice.
The University of Delhi itself has lost nearly 15 faculty members and senior administrative officers to the pandemic in the last few weeks. A previous estimation by DUTA stated that almost 600 teachers were COVID positive. Some university officials have also brought to notice that about 70 per cent of the staff in the examination branch is facing the wrath of this virus. The Joint Registrar, Sudhir Sharma was among the ones who lost their lives in this pandemic.
The Principal of Hindu College, Anju Srivastava said in a statement to the Indian Express,
“In our college, around 30-35 teachers are down with COVID, and much non-teaching staff too. Student attendance in classes has also dropped all around. So this is an appropriate move taken by the university.”
Students united to raise their demands
A few weeks ago, a message was forwarded to a lot of college groups that urged the students to facilitate the call for suspension. As a result, the demands of students were forwarded to the administration with digital signatures of students. Gunjan Taneja, a first-year student of IPCW shared, “We managed to get around 550 signatures on the petition with collective efforts of students.”
In the same way, college administrations of almost 45 colleges were notified about the student’s demands. Sashwat Pandey, a first-year student at St. Stephen’s College was a momentous part in organising and starting this united effort. Sharing his experience he said,
“This has been possible because of the class representatives and other students who were continuously coordinating to raise our demands and make them reach the administration. The kind of solidarity that everyone displayed motivated us to take this forward.”
In the last week, DUTA called for the classes to be suspended along with the postponement of exams. The apathy of the DU administration was called out by various media houses.
Did the problem solve or just got delayed?
The question that now comes forth is how will these classes be compensated later in the academic calendar? Will the curriculum be rushed to meet the deadlines? Or will the academic calendar be revamped to accommodate these classes?
Therefore, an important demand of students has been left unheard which asked for an extension of the academic calendar. If this isn’t met, it would simply mean that students will have to face the extended pressure after 16th May. In that case, suspension of classes that were being asked for relaxation would amount to added pressure for both teachers and students.
No actual plan has been laid as of now with regard to the academic calendar. Registrar, Vikas Gupta said in a statement to The Indian Express,
“The problem now is that of the academic calendar. It mandates 180 days of teaching. We will have to see what to do. We will try to reduce classes but beyond a point, even that will not possible. But we are working around it. It is difficult to plan beyond a point because the situation is unpredictable.”
As of now, the suspension of classes will surely bring some relief to students and teachers in midst of this crisis that we are collectively facing.