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The existing peer pressure online to be “productive” is bound to make you question your futility and lack of productivity during the quarantine period. But, who said that the quarantine period is a contest? 

“If you have not learnt any new skills during this lockdown, you lack discipline!” 

“Learn how to use your time productively and amp your CV!”

“How do I use my free time during the lockdown?”

“How can I be more productive?”

LinkedIn overflows with enthusiastic students and professionals uploading tons of certification courses and virtual internships. Instagram overflows with budding chefs, YouTubers and content creators displaying their latest dish, video and DIYs. The existent peer pressure is bound to make you question your futility and lack of productivity during the quarantine period. However, the question that thus arises is, have we given in to the productivity guilt or not?

With an ample amount of time to spare, the idle mind surely cooks up conspiracy theories and fan fiction and that is alright! We have spent days and nights working, hoping to get the perfect CV ready. Over-work, over-stress, this is a much-needed break. The quarantine is nature’s way to ask us to calm down, to take a break, re-think and pause. 

Rhea Dsouza, a student of Jesus and Mary College reminds us to take a break amidst this world-shaking pandemic, “Think of all the times you have had to overwork yourself and do the extra deed. Look at this as a well-deserved break from all the times you overdid yourself.”

People are on the streets, dying. People are on the hospital beds, dying. It is a pandemic, a historical event which defines the course of history. Crude oil hits below USD 0, we await a global recession, world-leaders have tested positive, the world today is anything but normal. Some have the perseverance and strength to continue with their day’s work without any intrusive thoughts. 

As an individual with anxiety, it is not easy. The fear is not intermittent; it is constant, consistent, steady and staring right into your eyes. I too believed let’s work on that CV, managing over four jobs, two internships, assignments, societies, a stable relationship, an unstable family and mental health later, I quit. Life is more than aiming to ace the perfect CV, sacrifice your family and social life to work, work and work! 

A student of Ramjas College, Pranjal Gupta juggles amidst six jobs and internships and fails to draw the line between academics and productivity. “Ever since the lockdown, I’ve been checking people’s profile on LinkedIn. When I see them doing so many things, achieving so much at this stage of their lives there is this constant fear that haunts me, “Am I not giving my best?”, “Why did I miss this opportunity?”, “Shall I enrol in this or that?”  I have involved myself in so much that I seem to be lost somewhere and not know what my hobbies are.”

The relationship between productivity and capitalism is an old, toxic one. The hustle culture points towards a notion that those who don’t hustle, they cannot succeed. There is no harm in staring at the wall for day’s ends, binge-watching the same show countless times, experimenting in the kitchen, bonding over board games with your family, you have the rein to your life in your palms, only you can direct it, not social media gimmicks. 

Pranjal continues, “Lockdown hasn’t given me a chance to be bored and actually fuel me with a drive to do something new, I’m just running like a sheep. Is this how I’m going to be different from the crowd? Without any introspection in such historic times?”

We need to be gentle with ourselves, there is only so much that our body and brain is capable of, without the burnout phase. Some people thrive under stress, some don’t. Some can learn a new language, some take multiple efforts in simply getting out of the bed. Some seek solace in working relentlessly, some can hardly breathe. Today, if you have taken a deep breath filling yourself with the rejuvenating air, that is enough. Just breath. 

Featured Image Credits: Instagram

Anandi Sen

[email protected]

 

Adding to the current controversy over conducting of examinations online for students of Delhi University, a dean wrote to the Vice-Chancellor suggesting against it.

Sachin Maheshwari, the Dean of Faculty of Technology at Delhi University (DU) on Wednesday, 24th April wrote to the Vice Chancellor highlighting issues with online modes of education and recommended alternative routes. 

With reference to the efforts of faculty members to provide academic resources through digital means, Mr Maheshwari said that they could only supplement classroom teaching and had to be made available to all students. He said that many students will suffer due to a lack of access to computers, smartphones or high-speed internet. He also said that effective teaching and conducting of experiments could not take place through online modes.

Mr Maheshwari also raised concerns of a possible “rat race” wherein restoration of teaching-learning and online evaluation may be proclaimed for “nefarious reasons involving financial, political interests.” This could, thus, prove detrimental to academics, he argued.

He referred to the measures taken by other institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) which have advanced summer vacation, instead of going through online evaluations. He said that the need of the hour was to successfully weather the pandemic and make up for the lost time with “holistic team efforts” once the situation gets better.

The University Grants Commission (UGC)  had constituted a seven-member committee, headed by Haryana University vice-chancellor R.C. Kuhad, to look into higher education matters such as examinations and continuing the academic session. However, as reported by The Print, this committee also seems to be against the idea of conducting online exams, as it feels India does not have the required infrastructure for it.

The committee was supposed to submit a report to the government by 13th April but hasn’t done so. But sources aware of the developments said the committee is not in favour of online examinations, a thought echoed by officials in the UGC as well. Instead, discussions are on to postpone exams until whenever colleges and universities can re-open.

An important to note is that the evaluation for papers of the odd semester is yet to be completed for several papers. Several members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) has actively spoken out against online examinations and said that it will not beIt is imperative that the University Administration take a decision soon, keeping in mind the interests of all students and faculty members.

Featured Image credits: DU Beat Archives

Khush Vardhan Dembla

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The year began with horrific bushfires ravaging the heart of Australia and further proved that changing climate is one of the most daunting global challenges of our time. The need of the hour is to earnestly acknowledge that Earth interests are much superior to ours and must be given their due voice.  

What’s with the air these days? Why is it so easier to breathe? After so many years, one can see a starry sky and identify which one among them is supposed to be their door ke dadaji (distant grandfather).  Don’t you miss the smoggy mornings of the city, the ‘sublime’ burning smell, which you got a whiff of in every breath? Well, obviously, you do not. The COVID – 19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown has opened our eyes to the rampant harm afflicted on the environment by our callous development. New videos and images of wild animals roaming freely on roads and highways that are bustling with people on normal days, surface almost every day. As humans stay at home, nature has been reclaiming its deserved space and showing us what we have been missing out for decades.

Climate change and environmental destruction have been hot topics of debates and discussions for many years now. International conventions, innovation forums, strikes and protests, are regularly organized to address the various issues and questions pertaining to the environment. Various governmental and non – governmental organizations in numerous countries have been working towards cleaner and healthier environment. But still the current scenario clearly indicates that we are not on the right path to achieve United Nation’s ambitious Sustainable Development Goals as our ignorance deepens climate change induced injustice. The denial of world leaders to commit towards action against climate change shows that in order to survive, the Earth needs to have greater representation of its interests before the court of humankind.

A country grapples with many critical issues – economic growth, provision of health and education, internal politics, international relations, and so on. As the policy makers get tied up in these, environmental concerns take a backseat and come to the limelight only after the occurrence of some natural catastrophe or due to international pressure. Over many years, environment laws have been amended to meet the present, more pressing needs. But, whenever there is a conflict between nature and development, the scales of justice either favour the latter openly or intervene too late. For instance, in the Aarey forest controversy of 2019, the Supreme Court’s judgment to stop the felling of trees came after the damage had already been done. Protesting activists were also beaten up and arrested. In India, Public Interest Litigations (PILs) have emerged as efficient tools for environmental NGOs and social activists to ensure the enforcement of citizen’s right to healthy environment. But the courts approach in entertaining PILs for environmental protection, however, has not been consistent.

For example, while the court has entertained PILs on environment problems such as water pollution, air pollution, and forest degradation from industrial activities, it has maintained a distance from PILs for environmental protection due to infrastructure projects such as dams, thermal power plants, airports etc. Particular guidelines for entertaining PILs have also been laid down, creating fear among spirited people fighting for environmental justice. Due to the spread of awareness among the common masses, political parties all over the world have been forced to feature environment-related issues in their manifestos. However, the impetus either gets lost among other matters after the elections or falls prey to the most typical characteristic of politics – promises made are never completely delivered.

The Earth is facing incredibly serious natural resource and environmental challenges: climate change, fresh-water depletion, deforestation, pollution, habitat destruction etc. Overpopulation has led to reckless changes in our consumption patterns and is estimated to put significant stress on public infrastructure and finance, especially in areas of health and education. The thing with environmental impacts is that they are slow in nature and cannot be perceived instantly. We must realize that if we allow the plunder and ravaging to continue and keep ignoring the needs of Earth in the name of progress, then great destruction looms over the whole of humankind.

The destruction Earth is being subjected to is not selective in who it punishes; it doesn’t see borders and it doesn’t favour one government over another. Its effects will affect everyone, and we must acknowledge that, at this point, there is no returning to “how things used to be.” Our leaders must realize or be made to realize that climate change and environmental degradation are crises that humanity has not ever faced before, and it cannot be solved with just some innovations and improved technologies. It requires concerted efforts to be made at all levels, in whatever capacity, to eradicate the negative consequences of indiscriminate development. We must acknowledge the vitality of discussions, followed by actions that need to be taken to address environmental concerns in all arenas, from educational institutions to courts of justice. The existing environmental laws need to transcend regulation of the human use and destruction of nature and transform into legal rights of nature to exist and flourish. This is because one of the most formidable weapons the cause of the Earth can have is legal protection through the recognition of rights, also termed as ‘Rights of nature’. Since 1971, Earth justice – a non-profit public interest organization based in the United States, has been working as ‘the legal backbone for the environmental movement’ world over. Environmental activism must also understand their responsibility to coax cessation of injudicious progress and to encourage leaders to adopt sustainable development.

It is high time that we pay due heed to the clarion call of Earth, urging us to reorient our development. We need to start from the premise that everyone matters—rich or poor, farmer or civil servant, woman, or man. Then, we must plan and act upon ways to reduce the ill effects of destruction outpoured by us on nature and reap the benevolence of our mother Earth in a sustainable manner. Only then can we save ‘life’ as we know it and build a beautiful planet and fulfilling lives, as promised to each one of us under the grace of the universe.

 

Featured Image Credit: Anastasiia Mishchenko

Ipshika Ghosh

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The global lockdown is particularly inconvenient for students considering the upcoming summer internship season.

2020 will turn out to be relatively hard for students because many companies have stopped campus recruitments till the pandemic subsides. Ideally, most summer internships begin in the month of April but amid the Coronavirus lockdown, many organisations have revoked offer letters, or have cut down on the duration of the internship from 8 weeks to 5 weeks depending on the duration of the lockdown. This is posing to be problematic for students from Business-schools (B-Schools) considering how internships are important for students.

Several companies have resorted to offering virtual internships. Many students have a postponed joining date. International internship projects have been cancelled until further notice. Many companies that usually offer summer internships are considering postponing the internships to autumn months.

Tejasvi, a student of Lady Shri Ram College said, “First year students have limited options in terms of internships opportunities, and with the ongoing lockdown, students may find it harder to find internships for a few months, but many colleges of Delhi University have Internship Cells that are actively working to bring forth opportunities for students.”

Students in first and second year are actively seeking internships but many companies are providing short term internships with extremely low stipends. Many students of B-schools as well as Delhi University reported a deferred joined date. Sectors like banking, insurance and financial services witnessed a delay in offers made to graduates.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has taken a step forward by requesting all branches of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to conduct special recruitment drives to assist students who may have lost their jobs or who may lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 breakout.

Students can seek internships or short-term projects on LinkedIn by connecting with representatives of various companies. Apart from LinkedIn, there are several platforms for students providing internship opportunities.  Many recruiters are stepping forward to help students to provide them with internships in these stressful times.

Feature Image Credits: Devdiscourse

Suhani Malhotra

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Owing to the nationwide lockdown which has brought a halt to many activities, students are being asked to pay for the rented accommodations even though their rooms remain unoccupied.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an order according to which landlords cannot demand rent from students, workers and migrant labourers for a month. The order by MHA states, “Wherever the workers, including the migrants, are living in rented accommodation, the landlords of those properties shall not demand payment of rent for the period of one month.” The order further adds, “If any landlord is forcing labourers and students to vacate their premises, they will be liable for action under the Act.”

With the outbreak of Coronavirus, some students fled to their hometown and some remained stuck in their PGs or other rented occupancies. With stringent restrictions of going out or accessing banks among other things, students find it extremely difficult to arrange for rent in these times. Those who have left their PGs to go home are also asked to pay rent, and fearing evacuation in such uncertain times students are facing troubles in paying rents especially when the means to pay have become scarce.

Deya Kangnoo, a first-year B.A programme student at Kamala Nehru College who is currently in Jammu expressed her concerns to DU Beat and said, “My dad’s occupation is business and due to this lockdown people are unable to travel from one place to another, so it’s arduous for all of the business personnel to generate income.” She further added, “It’s really insensitive to ask for rent in such times when families are struggling to maintain livelihoods. I don’t even have a rental agreement which I am sure not every PG student has, so these guidelines by Ministries have no binding on us.”

Mannat, a first-year student of BA (Hons) Journalism expressed the plight of PG owners to DU Beat and said, “Landlords’ income also gets affected with this lockdown since many depend on it as their livelihood including my father, who I see every day getting stressed about his business. It’s only when he initiates dialogues with the student tenants, they agree to pay- so we have money to sustain ourselves for food and needs.” She further added, “the cooks and other workers at PG also deserve to be paid in a respectable manner so it’s only fair that students attempt to negotiate with their landlords.”

Vinitha another student at Kamla Nehru College who is in Mysore told DU Beat, “We have negotiated a deal with the owner and those who are staying in the PG pay the full amount and those who don’t- pay half the sum including myself.”

Students who are from well to do families afford to pay half or full amount of rent to their landlords, whereas others from small towns or villages with minimal access to online banking or even a bank itself face vulnerability and threat of evacuation. Despite the Ministry guidelines, students are asked to pay rent even for the unoccupied rooms, and once again the rich-poor and digital divide comes into the centre stage to give momentum to inequalities and vulnerabilities.

 

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat archives

Umaima Khanam

[email protected]

 

In a Delhi that is slowly forgetting its history, Karwaan, a student-led Heritage Exploration Initiative, aims to revive the love for Delhi’s heritage.

“We began our journey in September 2019, when we organized a heritage walk to Tughlaqabad Fort with one of the most famous history buffs in Delhi, Sohail Hashmi. Since then we have organized many walks and lectures by historians at heritage sites. Our basic aim behind this initiative is to promote historical sites among university students.” says Eshan Sharma, a second-year student of B.A. (Hons) History from Dyal Singh College of the University of Delhi (DU). Along with a team of five other students- Nishant Singh, Aditya, Abhigyaa Mittal, Mansi Rautela, Nandesh Yadav- they started the initiative. Since then, they have conducted several walks around Delhi, along with organizing lectures.

Eshan Sharma, the founder of Karwaan, said to DU Beat, “We saw that people do not remember their heritage; do not remember their origins. So, we started with discovering Delhi’s heritage along with one of the most renowned history buffs of Delhi and one of our mentors, Sohail Hashmi. We then conducted several other walks in the historical sites of Delhi.”

They noticed heritage walks in the city costs around INR 600 a walk, which is a tad bit pricey for students, they decided to keep the charges low- charging between INR 200-300 a walk, with the lectures being free of cost. 

Currently, stuck in quarantine, they have been organizing a series of online lectures on history. These Facebook Live Lecture Series, which started on 4th April and will likely continue till the 30th, are talks where they invite renowned historians and scholars. Running for almost an hour daily at 6 PM, this is also an attempt to promote #StayHomeStaySafe. 

“As we are all getting bored right now, we at Karwaan decided that we must do something to keep us engaged in these times. This is also when students can make the best use of their free time by listening to these great sessions. So, we decided to conduct a series of online lectures. So far, we’ve had speakers like Manimugdha Sharma, Sohail Hashmi, Rana Safvi and Vikramjit Singh Rooprai who’ve spoken on topics like decoding myths about Aurangzeb, Mughal Paintings and the fourth city of Delhi,” adds Sharma.

Operating mostly from Facebook, they choose only those historians who have garnered genuine interest in teaching students and indulging in a deep discourse about their chosen topic. Speaking of lockdown, Eshan says, “We might extend the online lecture series if the lockdown extends after May 3rd.” 

Karwaan Heritage Walks, via Social Media
Karwaan Heritage Walks, via Social Media

The diversity of Karwaan’s attendees comprises of curious professionals, other historians and students beyond the history background. Talking of Karwaan’s expedition to various historical parts of Delhi, Eshan counts Tughlaqabad Fort, Mehrauli, Qutub Complex, a walk to Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid. Karwaan also conducted lectures on Delhi’s history which gained a huge response from the attendees. “They take great interest in exploring and discovering Delhi,” Eshan continues. 

They plan on taking Karwaan to a higher level by launching their own history company in the future. “We are learning from the experts right now, we are inviting historians to the walk, hoping that someday we’ll lead the walk too.” 

Concluding, Eshan reiterates, any student can join them irrespective of their educational background. “They can learn at Karwaan, suggest changes; if they want to hear a speaker, we are just a message away. This is a great way to make their lockdown worthwhile!”

Interested students can check their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/karwaaninitiative or Instagram handle @karwaanheritage.

Featured Image Credits: Karwaan’s Social Media

Satviki Sanjay

[email protected]

Anandi Sen

[email protected] 

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) introduced an online Google form soliciting opinions of students with regards to conduction of their postponed examinations, some of which shall later be added to a memorandum scheduled to be submitted to the authorities.

Amidst the shutdown of universities across the country and the indefinite postponement of semester examinations in lieu of the coronavirus-induced national lockdown, Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad Delhi came out with a press release on 16th April 2020 announcing the release of a “Student Opinion Form” for students of universities across Delhi including University Of Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Lal Bahadur Shastri Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Ambedkar University with an aim to collect concrete suggestions and opinions regarding the evaluation of their internal assessments and conduction of semester examinations.

This new initiative has been termed as the “Padhega Bharat, Badhega Bharat aur Jeetega Bharat” (India studies, India grows, India wins) campaign. After compiling the opinions and selecting a few notable suggestions, ABVP intends to add them to a memorandum which is due to be presented to the University Grants Commission and the Ministry Of Human Resource Development shortly.

Stressing on the necessity of this initiative due to recent developments such as the possibility of examinations shifting online, Sidharth Yadav, State Secretary, ABVP Delhi came out with a statement, “The pandemic has adversely affected the student community. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the resumption of normal civic life, reopening of campuses, conduct of internal assessments and conduction of semester examinations. The semester examinations have also been kept in abeyance. Since students are the primary stakeholders, their suggestions concerning the issues that can influence their academic progress, especially the possibility of organizing web-based semester exams merit specific inclusion on our memoranda.”

The fifteen-point questionnaire includes simple close-ended questions like “Have you ever given any internal exam/project/assignment during the coronavirus pandemic or prior?”, “Are you comfortable giving online assignments/assessments?”, “What online platforms do you use?” and also opinion-based open-ended questions like “Suggest a method for internal assessment during lockdown” and “In your opinion how should the semester exams be conducted?”. Most of the questions seem to seek the students’ opinions on the possible shift of internal and external assessments to online platforms.

“This new initiative was needed as this is an unprecedented situation. The questions are thoughtful and will surely help in revealing the views prevailing among students”, opined a first-year student of the University Of Delhi, on the condition of anonymity.

The link to the “Student Opinion Form” can be accessed through ABVP Delhi’s social media accounts.

Feature Image Credits: Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad via Twitter

Araba Kongbam

[email protected]

 

This Sexual Assault Awareness Month, attention must be directed not only to the rising ghastliness of sexual violence but also on how sex education can play a monumental role in combating it. 

SEX… Got a little uncomfortable? As I type it out, I can even hear an uncle screaming “Sanskar kahan hai tumhare? (Where are your values?)” Belonging to the country with the second largest population in the world, a rising hub of porn viewing, and being one of the most dangerous with respect to cases of sexual violence, isn’t it ironical that we still treat sex as a hush-hush topic in India? 

Sexual violence is a hideous truth persisting in broad daylight since decades. World Health Organization defines sexual violence as “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.” It includes rape and other forms of assault such as sexual harassment, sexual abuse, forced marriage, denial of the right to use contraception, forced abortion, sexual trafficking, and sexual violence by intimate partners through physical force, psychological intimidation, blackmail or threats. While sexual violence can be directed against both men and women, it is largely the women who constitute the ‘prey’ due to the larger functioning of factors such as poverty, power assertion, patriarchy and gender norms, and so on. Such grim is the case that according to National Sexual Violence Resource Centre, chances are you know someone who has been sexually assaulted as by age 18, 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted and 1 in 6 boys will be assaulted. Moreover, in most cases the assaulter is someone who is known to victim. When it comes to India; as recorded by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 415,786 rape cases were reported between 2001 and 2017, which can be averaged to about three women being raped every hour. Taking note of the growing numbers and the hideousness of the crimes, measures like stricter laws, faster trials, and education programmes have been undertaken.  

But sex education is one of the most promising ways to tend to the alarming state of affairs. According to UNESCO (2009), the primary goal of sexuality education is “to equip children and young people with the knowledge, skills and values to make responsible choices about their sexual and social relationships.” In addition to learning about the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, under sex education, children and young people also learn about the risks of sexual exploitation and abuse so that they can recognize when they are wronged, protect themselves and further be aware of different sources of support. It is usually believed that as sex is natural, so should be the discovery of an individual’s sexuality. Similar to this line of thought, a Rajya Sabha committee chaired by the then BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu (now Vice-President of the nation) had condemned the proposed Adolescent Education Programme (AEP) launched by the Union Education ministry in 2005 “as a cleverly used euphemism whose real objective was to impart sex education in schools and promote promiscuity.” Furthermore, it was stated that sex education prompts instincts pernicious to society; instead their control must be encouraged. The only education related to sexuality that is imparted to youngsters is to maintain a distance from the opposite sex. Additionally, girls are taught that their job is to say ‘no’ by wearing proper clothes, limiting their presence to the private sphere, being sincere and obedient and so on. And, when they ‘fail’, the girls are always blamed. Subsequently, in absence of proper sex education, adolescents grow up ignorant of the changes brought about by puberty and the situation worsens when they learn about them through peers or exposure to explicit content.

Sex education is nothing more than knowing about your body and being prepared for the changes it goes through. It encompasses talks on consent, good/bad touch and helps breaking taboos around genitals, desire and sexuality. Sex education programs that put an emphasis on consent and healthy sexual relationships help reduce the rate of sexual violence amongst young adults. According to a recent study by Columbia University, undergraduate women who took sexual education classes before college were half as likely to be sexually assaulted in college as compared to undergraduate students who received abstinence-only education and saw no reduction in rates of assault. Encouragement is also given to fostering equality in relationships, preventing gender based violence and promoting healthier relationships. 

Sexual violence affects women, men and children, mars their lives, and devastates families and communities. However, sexual education offers an intervention at early stages that leads to building of awakened individuals. Sex and sexuality are sensitive topics but avoiding talking about them increases vulnerability. School and homes provide the suitable environment to open up discussions and countering stigmas. We should not wait to learn about sex and consent until we are sexually active. Sexual education must be treated as any other academic subject and be imparted to children and adults alike by trained personnel who are well versed with the complexities and universality of the subject. So, if ever a child comes to you and asks something related to his/her sexuality, do not brush it off, engage in discussions and you might just save them from the many predators lurking amongst us, disguised as genteel citizens. 

Featured Image Credits: Vox

Ipshika Ghosh

[email protected]

Vice Chancellor of Delhi University urges Alumni to contribute to the battle against Coronavirus.

Delhi University has reached out to its alumni network and urged them to contribute in the fight against COVID-19. The Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi has written a letter to the alumni of the University and urged them to strengthen their efforts in serving the society in whatever way they can. He has also requested them to share about their endeavours in order to inspire the community by writing to the University on a dedicated email id, ‘[email protected]’.

Faculty and staff members of the department and constituent colleges have contributed their one-day’s salary, amounting to more than four crore rupees, to the PM-CARE Fund and intends to contribute more.

University VC has also informed the alumni network of the steps taken by Delhi University to contribute to the prevention of COVID-19 as well as the aid provided to the needy and vulnerable sections of the society. He has written about the efforts taken by University faculty to teach students through digital resources so as their education can continue uninterrupted. “Our faculty members have successfully explored virtual classrooms and other digital aids to ensure continuity in the teaching-learning process,” he writes.

“We are reviewing our preparations for admissions in the next session. We feel confident our students will have a fruitful session this year, too,” he says about the DU admission process which has been put on hold for the time being. The University is also taking care of the multitude of students who hail from different parts of the country and some from other countries as well.

The University has also launched ‘DU Care for Neighbour’ programme to help poor or homeless people in the neighbourhood of the University’s North and South campuses. Constituent colleges have also been asked to initiate similar program in their vicinity.

Delhi University has also constituted a Special Task Force with a diverse representation that meets regularly through virtual mode to discuss impending challenges, devise solutions and implement them.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Paridhi Puri

 

[email protected]

With the vast body of unreliable information and lessons of the so-called ‘WhatsApp University’ in circulation, here are some COVID-19 myths, busted.

  1. Myth: Heat or hot weather will kill the virus:

U.S. President Donald Trump claimed heat is effective for killing the virus and that it would disappear with the onset of warmer weather. There is no truth to this and the World Health Organisation (WHO) clearly stated: “From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather”. Using hairdryers to ‘disinfect your hands’ is also not effective in killing the virus.

 

  1. Myth: Coronavirus is a man-made biological weapon:

There have been conspiracies that the virus is everything from a lab experiment gone wrong, to a Chinese plan for world domination. There is no evidence that the Coronavirus is a man-made disease, even though some people claim that certain books and TV shows ‘predict’ it.

 

  1. Myth: Gaumutra (cow urine) and Gobar (cow-dung) kill the virus:

Assam BJP MLA Suman Haripriya advised that spraying Gaumutra purifies an area while Hindu Mahasabha President Swami Chakrapani has said a person who consumes cow urine, chant “Om Namah Shivay” and applies cow dung on their body, will be saved from the deadly virus. Even Amazon is selling a hand sanitizer by a brand named ‘Cowpathy’, which is described as “Distilled Cow Urine, obtained from Indigenous cows is gelled with aromatic essential oil and Ganga Jal”. While there are religious beliefs behind these, no scientific connection has been made to show either kills the Coronavirus.

 

  1. Myth: Avoid anyone with ‘East-Asian’ features:

It is sad that this even needs to be said, but with several cases of harassment faced by foreign nationals and even people hailing from the North-Eastern states of India, it is important people realise the diversity of the country and not use the Coronavirus to express their racism. If you do believe this one, do keep a distance. These people will appreciate you keeping your racist selves away.

 

  1. Myth: It’s all in your head!

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath stated that if one was to overcome their “mental illness”, then they could “avoid diseases such as blood pressure, heart attack, kidney failure, liver issues, and even the coronavirus”. No, the ‘Western media’ and ‘leftist media outlets’ are not manipulating you into panicking and buying masks, sanitisers, and medicines, all for the benefit of Big Pharma. COVID-19 is real and so is mental health. With the lockdown taking a toll on the mental health of many, help is there if you need it.

 

  1. Myth: You should avoid drinking Corona Beer:

A study revealed that 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona “under any circumstances” because of the outbreak. As stupid as it sounds, no Corona Beer has nothing to do with the Coronavirus.

 

  1. Myth: Disassociate from everything Chinese:

Surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt Chinese businesses with people avoiding Chinese eating joints. No, momos and chowmein (prepared hygienically) aren’t going to give you Coronavirus. People have also been concerned about receiving packages from China but with the low survivability of the virus on these surfaces over an extended period, there is no cause for concern.

 

  1. Myth: If a WhatsApp message titled “!!!VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM UNESCO!!!” says so, it must be true.

With the honest and hard-working ‘journalists’ of India under attack by ‘leftist goons’ and ‘anti-nationals’ and the corrupt ‘Western Media’ trying to ruin India’s image with ‘fake news’ like communal violence and gross negligence in the capital, some people have resorted to WhatsApp for up to date news and information. Do not believe that ‘UNESCO Notice’ or any forwards from that ‘woke’ uncle on the family group chat. Information is readily available on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website and Government sources.

 

Featured Image Credits: New York Post

Tashi Dorjay Sherpa

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Amidst digital divide and furthering inequality the University Grants Commission (UGC) has expressed its concerns with relation to online mode as alternative.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) hints towards the incapability of the country’s potential in resorting to online mode of examinations for all of its university students, as such a means appears to be a distant prospect in all likelihood.

A seven member committee headed by R.C. Kuhad, Vice Chancellor, Haryana University was formed by UGC in the previous week to dive into the matters of academic sessions and examinations of higher education. This committee has expressed it’s qualms over India’s lack of resources and infrastructure, when it comes to conducting online exams. The alternative of online exams came in the first place due to the postponement of final exams by the majority of Central Universities in wake of prevention from the widespread contamination of the COVID-19.

“We have received some serious concerns and various suggestions regarding holding exams, and we are working towards finding a solution,” said R.C. Kuhad in a statement made to The Print. The committee has supposedly submitted their report to the government on 13th April 2020. The theme of the discussion is more on further postponement of exams until future clarification than on online exam conduction.

An official told The Print while highlighting the lack of confidence in online exams as a prospect alternative, “Online examinations in universities look like a remote possibility, because we do not have a mechanism of conducting exams through online mode. Also, there are many students who are in rural areas, or areas that do not have proper access to facilities. How will they be able to write exams?” The official further added, “These are the questions that the committee is dealing with, and is tilting against the idea of having online exams. What they are looking at, instead, is suggesting that the universities conduct exams after June, once the schools and colleges are open. We also agree with the idea that universities are not capable of holding online examinations.

Statements retrieved from The Print where another UGC official expressed lack of confidence in infrastructure and questioned, “How will the universities make sure students are not cheating sitting at home? How will they ensure this facility is not misused? There are a lot of concerns that the stakeholders will have to look at.”

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) also reiterated similar concerns in a statement issued on Sunday saying, “Online education models cannot be a substitute to regular classroom teaching. It does not work in a country where internet connectivity and smartphones are limited to a class of students only.”

The Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (ABRSM), an RSS-affiliated teacher’s body also gave suggestions to the UGC regarding- prioritising the examinations of final semester students of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and also avoiding of mass promotion of students to next semester without exams.

Agnitra Ghosh, an assistant professor at department of Journalism of Kamala Nehru College, expressed his concerns to DU Beat, saying,”The idea of online examination, we believe, is not at all viable and discriminatory, especially for students from deprived backgrounds. While we are taking online lectures, there are several issues like problems with connectivity, threats to privacy etc.”.  He further added, “As  soon as the university reopens, the examination should take place after completing the teaching process (internal assessment etc).”

“There are more than nine lakh students in Delhi University who are waiting to write their exams. Keeping their future in mind, we have begun preparations for conducting online exams. But we are still awaiting directions from UGC to go ahead with the plan,” Vinay Gupta, Dean of Examinations at DU, said as reported by The Print.

This move of proceeding with the online exams in Delhi University is opposed by teacher’s bodies like DUTA and student bodies like the KYS. A majority of Universities are waiting for the UGC to signal guidelines which as of date are not very convinced about the potential of the conduct of online methods.

Feature Image Credit: DU Beat Archives

Umaima Khanam

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