IITs are planning to resume the upcoming semester by conducting classes online this year as the uncertainty over Coronavirus situation remains.
IITs are planning to resume the upcoming semester by conducting classes online this year as the uncertainty over Coronavirus situation remains. Many Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) directors believe that the autumn semester for undergraduate students and those who are already enrolled in the program will have to be conducted virtually, the Indian Express reported. The report said that institutes are also working to make the classes feasible for students and are working on alternatives for students who may not have digital access – either device or internet.
A committee formed by all IITs in India will soon be submitting a report to the HRD minister-led council to discuss challenges regarding operations that can arise in the upcoming semester.
IIT-Bombay is planning on how to conduct efficient online lectures for students. It is also asking the alumni of the college to help other students to access online classes. IIT-Delhi has asked students to study online in their hostel rooms or even drop the semester this year.
Citing Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director at IIT-Madras, the report said that classes will continue to be conducted online for one more semester. The college is not sure as to when the campus will receive an indication to reopen and even if it does, how many students will be able to travel safely to the campus, said Ramamurthi. According to the report, he further said that when the notice for return is issued, in the first phase, PhD students will be asked followed by those who are taken in fresh for the academic year 2020-21.
Having said this, the institute is still sceptical on how social distancing practises will pan out for classroom teachings. Management of these institutions is also looking into providing facilities for those living in hostels. Some believe that even if every student is given a complete room than sharing, mess and washrooms are still common, the report said.
Meanwhile, IITs have also sought an extension of a year for adding seats in this year. Earlier, a decision was made to accommodate an additional 10 per cent seat for economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota. However, with Coronavirus pandemic and space constraints, the IITs have asked the deadline to be postponed till next year.
Further, the report mentioned that even if the existing students are being called back, it is difficult to ensure that every student is quarantined for at least 14 days before they are permitted in their dorm rooms. And on top of it, if any student is infected, how can the institution support medical help at a time when all health systems are overwhelmed, the report said, citing an IIT director. Moreover, parents are not keen on sending their children back to the colleges.
It is to note that in India, more than three lakh Coronavirus cases have been reported and many IITs are present in areas that are hotspot zones. Therefore, the decision on conducting classes will mainly be dependent on this factor as well.