When the entire social media is brimming with urgent messages of medications and oxygen required, when every other text on groups is a requirement for an ICU bed or a ventilator, and when the entire nation is in a crisis and the only support system left are groups of civilians working together, the University of Delhi is still expecting its students and teachers to attend and take their classes from morning till evening.
Students from various colleges have therefore united to demand suspension of classes. They have been writing their demands to college administrations and collecting digital signatures to facilitate their call.
On one hand, the administration asks students to fill the form for their upcoming examination and on the other asks them to help society in the situation of need. This unempathetic stance has received criticism from both students and teachers.
Why suspend classes?
A rough estimation has been laid by DUTA that almost 600 teachers have tested positive with Covid-19. A lot of classes have been affected, with lectures being cancelled and some running solely on notes and readings. A student of Hansraj College said,
“One of our teachers is affected with covid and she is not well enough to teach, still she is teaching as she can’t take more leaves.”
Is it apathy or deliberate ignorance on part of the administration, to expect teachers to teach under such crushing circumstances? It needs to be said that the record of deaths and positive cases are not just numbered. These are actual people being affected. There is a dearth of medications and facilities in the country. It is a brutal act for both teachers and students to work in the online ecosystem of education.
Demands by Students
LSR Student’s Union has called for a two-week-long boycott of first-year classes. The boycott has been planned to start on 3rd May and continue till 17th May.
Various demands that have been laid by students are to cancel the upcoming exams and practicals with immediate effect. They have also asked to revamp the timetable for first-year students with a significant reduction in the number of classes per week. Along with that an extension of the academic calendar to render adequate time for first-year students to complete their course.
Reportedly, the Principal of SRCC has rescheduled the classes for students of the second semester for a couple of days. Those classes would be rescheduled for Sundays of the next month of May.
Pankaj Kumar Garg, professor at Rajdhani College has written to the University administration to consider rescheduling the exams for final-year students, which are scheduled to begin on May 15. According to him, almost 18 teachers of Rajdhani College are battling with Covid-19. In a statement to Hindustan Times, he said,
“Several teachers have confided that they are not in a position to set question papers. For students without access to devices, it will not be safe to come to the ICT centres to take the exam in the present circumstances.”
Whereas, Balram Pani, the Dean of colleges has said that the said college Principals can analyse the situation and make a decision concerning online classes, keeping in mind the availability of teachers and other factors.
With the second wave of pandemic taking a gruesome toll on the mental and physical health of all citizens, the least that the varsity can do is to show consideration and not hamper the situation of teachers and students anymore.