Several higher education institutes in West Bengal on Tuesday said they are ready to resume physical classes in colleges and universities from December 1 for which they are awaiting a government order and Covid-19 safety guidelines to be provided by the higher education department.
State Education minister Partha Chatterjee had told reporters on Monday that the government was planning to start classes in colleges and universities from December 1, but a call on whether lessons would be imparted offline was yet to be taken.
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Commenting on Chatterjee’s statement, Principal of Lady Brabourne College Siuli Sarkar told PTI, “our institution is a government college and we we will abide by the higher education department’s decision.”
She said, the college authorities have already made a preliminary plan, according to which class timings will be staggered to accomodate a small number of students of Honours courses in each room, for conforming to physical distancing norms and other Covid-19 safety measures.
“Certainly we all want classes to resume as online classes cannot be an alternative to physical attendance where you can understand if a student is able to follow your lecture. But in the pandemic situation, things are different.
“The issue of safety of students comes first. If the government asks us to start on-campus classes, we will ensure that students come in small groups,” she said.
Sarkar said, while in-person classes remained suspended for past seven months, “we have been attending office for past three months for administrative work”.
Principal of Bethune College Krishna Roy said, “we are yet to get any notification from the state government about opening the campus for classes.
“However, at the same time, safety and health of students should be of paramount importance. All I can say is that we will act as asked, more so because our college is a government college. The decision of Calcutta University on this issue is also crucial as being an affiliate college we will go by the recommendations of the university senate, the highest decision making body.”
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The Registrar of Jadavpur University Snehamanju Basu said they were yet to receive any letter from the higher education department on the matter.
“We are holding meetings among ourselves. Once the department sends us a notice with guidelines, we will sit for talks again and act accordingly,” he said.
Rabindra Bharati University Vice-Chancellor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhuri said, “nothing has been decided about starting on-campus activities. Unless the higher education department sends us guidelines, we cannot confirm anything.”
Calcutta University VC Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee could not be contacted.
The government on Monday said in a notification that educational institutes will continue to remain closed till November 30 with all campus activities suspended.
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