Aakriti Boudh has been confined to her home in Delhi for almost one month without being able to carry forward her research work.
Aakriti, a PhD student of history at Delhi University, said research students had been badly affected by the closure of the varsity library, the national archives and the Delhi state archives during the lockdown.
“For a research student, library is absolutely essential. It is very important to study related literature. But the closure of the library has put a break on the research work of PhD and MPhil students,” Aakriti said.
She said the national archives and the Delhi state archives had not digitised all their records, impeding remote access.
“I think the research scholars cannot submit their thesis anytime soon. Those who have completed the thesis will need to print the documents and make copies, for which printers should be functional,” Aakriti said.
The Federation of Central University Teachers Associations (FedCUTA) on Tuesday took up the problem with human resource development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and urged him to grant an additional six months to students to submit their theses.
Research papers are usually submitted in April-May.
In his letter, FedCUTA president Rajib Ray wrote that along with other sectors, research and academics had also been badly hit because of the pandemic.
“Many PhD and MPhil research scholars have been unable to conduct research in this period because of the absence of laboratory and library facilities and the fact that no field work was possible. You would agree with us that the turbulence in the physical world outside has disrupted the inner peace of mind so much required for undertaking proper research work,” Ray wrote.
“We appeal to you to take cognisance of the difficult circumstances and give an extension of at least six months to all research scholars across the country who were due to submit their thesis/dissertation or hold their pre-submission seminars,” he added.
An HRD ministry official said the University Grants Commission on Monday set up an expert committee to suggest measures on how to continue academic activities in universities and colleges during the crisis period.
The committee headed by Prof. R.C. Kuhad will make suggestions on ways to conduct pending examinations and start the 2020-21 academic session. The committee is to submit its report by April 13.