Coronavirus Outbreak: IIT-Bombay goes online, scraps face-to-face lectures this year

Updated: Jun 26, 2020, 14:49 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

The director of the institute, Subhasis Chaudhuri, took to Facebook to announce this decision that was taken after 'a long deliberation with the Senate' while planning the next semester

IIT Bombay
IIT Bombay

With an upsurge in coronavirus cases across the country, the educational institutions have moved to online classes this year. The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay has become the first major institute to cancel all face-to-face lectures for the rest of the year ‘so that there is no compromise on the safety and well being of students’.

The director of the institute, Subhasis Chaudhuri, took to Facebook on Wednesday night to announce this decision that was taken after ‘a long deliberation with the Senate’ while planning the next semester.

“For IIT Bombay, students are the first priority. We took the first step in India in concretely deciding how we must bring a closure to the current semester to help our students,” Chaudhuri wrote in the post.

“But given the current condition of the pandemic, how do we plan for the next semester for our students? Again, after a long deliberation in the Senate, we have decided today that the next semester will be run purely in the online mode so that there is no compromise on the safety and well being of the students,” he wrote.

The under-graduate and post-graduate courses are scheduled to commence next month.

“However, a large section of our students come from economically less privileged families and would require a helping hand to equip them with the IT hardware (i.e. laptops and broadband connectivity) to take these online classes,” Chaudhuri wrote, adding that the institution does ‘not want a single student to miss out the learning experience for the lack of money'.

He further wrote that an estimated amount of Rs 5 crores is required for providing help to the needy students and made an appeal for donations. “We look forward to your overwhelming support to help these bright young minds to continue their learning without any further hindrances or delays,” he wrote.

Other IITs may follow suit

According to PTI, this is the first time in the institute's 62-year history that a new academic year will start with no students on campus. Other IITs are likely to follow suit with similar announcements for the autumn semester that runs from July till December.

Amid reports of other IITs deliberating on delaying on-campus lectures this year, an IIT-Delhi official was quoted by PTI saying, "Considering the challenge of uncertainty thrown by the pandemic, it is not wise to delay the academic session because we don't know yet that by when will it be completely safe to call students on campus. It is better we start the academic session and figure out ways to help students who may not have access to computer or the internet."

HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on Wednesday asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to revisit the guidelines for intermediate and terminal semester exams and the academic calendar. He said the foundation for revisited guidelines shall be for the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff.

(With inputs from PTI)

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