Coronavirus outbreak: Colleges try to keep a grip on future amid uncertain times

Updated: Apr 04, 2020, 07:52 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

City colleges keeping youngsters busy with practice tests, revision lectures, counselling sessions and additional interest-based online courses

St Xavier's Principal Dr Rajendra Shinde meets the students' council online
St Xavier's Principal Dr Rajendra Shinde meets the students' council online

With their schedules in a tizzy and professors racing to shift teaching online, city colleges are employing different tactics to keep students engaged and morale high amid uncertain times.

While exams are largely cancelled, colleges are keeping the momentum of studies going. KC College in Churchgate, for instance, will conduct exams as scheduled but with a difference. The exams scheduled for April 8 will now be a practice test online for students, while the actual exam will be held later.

Whereas, at VES College of Law in Chembur, revision lectures are being conducted online followed by doubt-clearing sessions. Vile Parle's N M College, along with taking online classes, is also focussing on students' mental health, especially of those in their final year and facing uncertainties.

Just like schools, most colleges too had completed their syllabus and were looking forward to final exams and summer holidays. But now they are looking for ways to keep youngsters busy and help them study for the final exams.

"Our college has decided to give students PPTs and other notes so that they may continue studying at home and prepare assignments that can be evaluated online. But some professors and I are also taking lectures online to ensure learning takes place both ways. The schedule is flexible and the topics alternate between lectures, discussion and clearing of doubt," said Bhushan Shinde, assistant professor at VES College of Law

KC College professors, on the other hand, are not only conducting classes online but also working on creating suitable online content. "We will also continue with exams beginning from April 8. But the tests are practice sessions. The idea is to engage students so that they are prepared for the actual exams," said Dr. Hemlata Bagla, principal of college. The professors, apart offering career guidance, are also discussing the global situation. "Youngsters have the tendency to take one step at a time. They wouldn't be thinking much about the future after exams. But the uncertainty cannot be denied, especially when it comes to higher education abroad. Many Indian institutes offering good courses at the higher level are going to gain importance," said Bagla.

N M College has shared the contacts of their in-house counsellor with students. "Along with lectures, revision and assessment, one important factor is the mental wellbeing of our students. Not only these are unprecedented times but the young generation is also staring at uncertainty, especially final-year students who would be wanting to study further or work. Help is available for anyone who is facing anxiety or stress," said Dr. Parag Aajgaonkar, principal of the college.

VES law college students attend a revision lecture online
VES law college students attend a revision lecture online

Similarly, the St. Xavier's College, too is focussing on boosting students' morale. Principal Dr. Rajendra Shinde said, "While we have small research projects continuing online, conducting entire revision classes online is not possible given the huge number of students in each class. Our focus is to keep in touch with students. We have professional counsellors and an active students' council to interact with fellow students. Often, students might not want to open up. But they might discuss things with their peers and this is where the students' council counts. We meet the students' council every week, along with the counsellor for updates."

Professors at Wilson College are hunting for online courses which their students can pursue while regular revision classes continue. Principal Dr. Michelle Philip said, "Right now, there is no clarity on when examinations will be held. Our professors are helping students make the most of this time by taking up additional courses based on their interests. We cannot conduct classes online as we also have students from underprivileged backgrounds who may not have the facilities to participate."

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