West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee has announced that the colleges and universities in West Bengal will not be reopening immediately. The schools and colleges in the state have remained closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown in the country. The West Bengal education minister while speaking to the media after a meeting with the University Vice Chancellors stated that the Vice Chancellors have urged the state government to allow the institutions in the state to conduct classes and exams for the off-semester students in the online mode until March 2021.
According to the education minister, the Vice Chancellors in a proposal submitted have added that since one month time is left for completing the exams for the odd semester students the universities must be allowed to continue with the online exams. The universities have also spoken to government officials regarding the inability of the state universities to reopen the college hostels for the students immediately due to the pandemic situation.
The decision for Even Semester exams
While speaking about the request put forth by the guardians and other stakeholders for a quick decision on the modalities of ‘even semester’ academic activities, the education minister has stated that the possibility of elections being conducted in April and the election sectioned clashing with the semester classes and exams were also discussed by the government with the university Vice Chancellors. He further added that a decision based on mutual discussions and considering all the aspects including the convenience of the students will be taken by the universities since the government has left the decision with the university authorities
Students accustomed to online classes
Since classes in the schools and colleges have been conducted in the online mode since March 2020, the students and the faculty members in the higher educational institutions are getting used to it while some of the universities have also helped the students to participate in online classes without any inconvenience.
Labs to be reopened for Ph.D. studies
The decision to keep the laboratories ready for use by the Ph.D. students on a case-by-case basis has also been taken in the meeting conducted with the Vice Chancellors. A spokesperson from the West Bengal Vice Chancellor’s Council stated that the laboratories of the institutions will be opened for the research scholars. Special notification will also be issued by the state regarding the reopening of the school for the higher classes in due time, the minister further added. Details regarding the measures taken and the number of students allowed at a time will be specified in the official notification.
Opening hostels not feasible
The spokesperson also added that many of the Vice-Chancellors told the ministers that with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing there are many students from outside West Bengal and Abroad studying in many of the universities and colleges in the state and it will not be feasible to either reopen the hostels or campuses yet. Due to this, it was decided that the classes and semester exams must continue to be conducted online at present.
Courtesy: Jagran Josh