With the commencement of phased reopening, colleges are facing low attendance ratios as final year students face logistical impediments regarding their practical sessions
The University of Delhi recently opened in a phased manner for teachers and small batches of students for practical related works. Yet many stakeholders primarily the final year students are facing some issues regarding availing college facilities for their practical sessions.
The Registrar of the Delhi University said, “Final-year students need to complete their practicals, since degrees cannot be awarded without completion of course content. This, however, is not the case with first/second-year students who can complete their practicals once colleges open fully in the next academic session.”
The University’s registrar Vikas Gupta while talking to ‘The Education Times’ stated, “Only final-year students in small batches will be allowed to visit their respective colleges for practical sessions and other related activities such as projects, training and placements as per the discretion of the respective principals. This is in line with the UGC guidelines and SOPs and MHA order.”
He also added that adequate measures are being taken by the administration to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus & an extra step is being taken to speak with the parents of the students regarding their well-being. Despite this, Attendance in both North and South campus colleges have been relatively low.
While addressing the problem of hostels, Mr. Gupta added, “Colleges have also been asked to open their hostel facilities for which students will be allowed in batches. There are around 20% outstation students for whom hostel is a necessity even as they are expected to attend the practical sessions.”
At Ramjas College, the attendance is irregular. The colleges claim that they can just counsel the students regarding the phased practical work but if the university takes a decision about reopening hostels then a gradual change in the attendance is expected.
Ramjas College saw only eight students at the campus on the first day of reopening and only one student at the Chemistry lab. The Principal of Ramjas College, Mr. Manoj Kumar Khanna while speaking to ‘The Times Network’ said, “We cannot compel them as they are expected to attend their practicals voluntarily. Students from Delhi-NCR facing border tensions, or from across the states facing severe COVID situations are yet to join.”
He also added that the previous semester had adapted to virtual labs for practical related works but with the situation yet to normalise, 100% attendance is not possible immediately.
Babli Moitra Saraf, principal, Indraprastha College for Women, also expresses that her college is functioning on a full scale in the conduction of online classes, stating that the primary challenge is to provide hands-on training to the students from the far-off areas.
She stated in her interview with The Education Times, “It is too early to say how the situation will unfold. The departments have announced the schedule for practical classes but will keep it flexible to suit students’ needs and their presence in the city.”
At Hindu College, a similar mosaic can be seen with students “trickling in” for the practicals of Zoology and the Physical Sciences. Anju Srivastava, the acting Principal of the college hopes the class size to increase nonetheless not more than 10 students per practical batch. She stated, “The College had created video demonstrations of experiments and virtual simulations for Physics that had worked well but there is no substitute for a hands-on experience which is what we are trying to implement.”
With low attendance in labs, the future of hands-on education during the time of a pandemic seems uncertain.
Feature Image Credits: India Times