Office Order dated 29th January was uploaded on Delhi University’s new website which stated, “All Colleges, Centres and Departments shall be functional and therefore all teaching staff must attend to their workplace with effect from 01.02.2021.”
Its been almost 10 months since the physical shutdown of Delhi University, and with the new notice, final year students are allowed to visit the campus for library or practicals, in small batches.
The woes of Online Classes
In the past week, classes have already been disrupted due to internet shutdown in NCR and nearby regions. So calling this order a ‘half baked exercise’ isn’t an exaggeration, which has been brought to the notice of the Vice-Chancellor.
A survey conducted in May 2020 showed that only 22.4 per cent of students attend online classes regularly. Online education since the start of the pandemic has been on side of the privileged, but how will the classes function if teachers are the ones who are facing the same problems now? It is a good time now for the administration to reflect upon the problems that students have faced in online mode.
The order has faced a backlash from DUTA. Rajib Ray, President of DUTA alleged in a statement, “Today, teachers turned up at the workplace to find that they had to struggle to find an appropriate space from where they could teach. The internet collapsed in many colleges and teachers were found roaming around with their portable devices or laptops to be able to meet their online classes.” Some classes were cancelled, rescheduled and teachers even took classes while sitting in the college parking area.
It took a lot of time for teachers and students to adapt to the online mode of learning. Such a decision is bound to ‘create chaos and confusion’ as said by DUTA. Many colleges have network problems, thus this order becomes questionable. How will classes function smoothly without a stable internet connection? If Delhi University itself grapples with the problem of connectivity, how has it been expecting students to attend online classes and study efficiently?
Various meetings are being organized among teachers and college staff, as DUTA sternly holds its ground, “The DUTA takes strong exception to this mindless order and demands its immediate withdrawal so that precious teaching time is not wasted.” It is one of the problems that DUTA is facing currently apart from the salary crisis.