Karnataka colleges reopening

Karnataka colleges reopening: Poor student attendance

November 21, 2020
– Sukanya Nandy

The Karnataka government had earlier stated that degree, engineering, and diploma colleges in the state shall resume regular classes from November 17, 2020 after being closed for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and the subsequent national lockdown. The government clarified that there was an option for students to either be physically present in the classroom or attend online classes. However, teachers, staff and the students will have to produce a negative RT-PCR test report.

Parents are also required to submit a no-objection certificate permitting their wards to attend regular classes.

As per the guidelines, several colleges and universities have reopened but have seen very poor student attendance. Dr Sanjay Chintnis of Dayanand Sagar University, Bengaluru says, “Online classes are going on and the last day of their semester will be November 25. We are following the classes and syllabus as per the original schedule and didn’t have any delay because of Covid-19 situation. We have also written to the state government that since only one week is left to complete the semester, we will not be holding any physical classes. We will start physical classes from the next semester, which is due to start in January.”

Dr H D Maheshappa of Acharya Institute of Technology too added that although the institute has resumed physical classes, “students are not attending the classes.” He said that the reason being Covid-19, for which students are unable to commute.  

Dr Vasundhara, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Bangalore University says, “As per the government’s directives, we have resumed classes on November 17 following all the protocols and the safety procedures. But no student has attended the physical classes yet. ”

She adds that the university had made it mandatory for the students to get themselves tested and bring the certificates, “hence several students may be taking longer time to get that done. Another major reason for the students not attending the physical classes is that the university hostels haven’t reopened yet and most of the students stay outside of the city and hence they neither have a place to stay here and commute is a huge problem as well.”

Vedant Banerjee, a third year electrical engineering student of PES University, Banashankari campus says, “It was compulsory for us to get tested before coming for the lab sessions. Only four days before the lab class, all of us had to run around and find a method of getting tested immediately because the report generally takes 3 days to arrive. I called many authorised agencies and finally one of them was ready to come home and take my sample. After getting the results, I went to college on November 17.”

“Before entering the campus, our temperatures were checked, following which we were made to show our Covid negative certificate and a consent letter from our parents, which stated that they were fine with sending us to college and I would have to adhere to all their SOPs. The university called only 30 students per day and divided them into 2 batches of 15. We were made to social distance as much as possible, had to wear masks and there were sanitizer pedals all around the campus. Only 6 students were allowed to do the experiments for lab at a particular time while the rest of us had to wait for our turn. Meanwhile, offline regular classes were also operational but it was optional to attend. The classrooms were cleaned regularly. We were also made to sit in alternate seats while using the computer lab.”

Vedant added that things could have been more organised as “he was in the first batch and the university wasn’t prepared as such for us to do the experiments, calling us only for one day (2 hours per lab) and completing only 1 experiment. Some of the students had not got tested but they were allowed to attend the lab by the teachers saying that they should get it done next time. Our college had also set up a testing camp for 2 days. We have 12 experiments and they could complete only 1. We were told that they would call us to the university only for one more day but then we can’t finish the lab experiments on time.”

Meanwhile, all the medical and paramedical colleges affiliated to Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) would resume regular classes from December 1, the Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Friday, November 13, 2020.

Read: Private schools & colleges can collect 75% of annual fee: Madras HC

Also read: Karnataka: Medical, paramedical colleges to start from December 1

Also read: Colleges in Karnataka gear up to resume classes

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