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Calcutta University departments to choose class mode: VC

Several teachers had written to Sonali Chakraborty objecting to the decision of shifting to online mode because of the heat

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 03.05.22, 07:30 AM
Calcutta University

Calcutta University

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Calcutta University has left it to individual departments to decide whether they want to continue with physical classes or go online because of the heat, vice-chancellor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee said on Monday.

The clarification comes days after the VC told reporters that postgraduate classes would be held online from Monday.

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Following her announcement, a section of teachers had written to her objecting to the decision.

In their letter to the VC on Sunday, the teachers wrote that the students of the university were all adults and shutting down classroom teaching “on account of heat will be definitely detrimental to their future”.

According to them, any decision to return to online teaching at this stage will send a “wrong signal to potential employers”, given that higher education institutions in other states with similar weather conditions are continuing with in-person classes.

When The Telegraph asked Chakravarti Banerjee about the teachers’ letter, she said in a text message on Monday: “No official letter has been issued from the end of CU centrally (regarding the start of online classes). The departments can decide according to their convenience.”

A day after chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on April 27 asked colleges and universities to explore options in view of the scorching heat spell, the Calcutta University VC had said: “Postgraduate classes will be held online from May 2. The decision has been taken because of the heat.”

Sankhayan Chowdhury, general secretary of the university’s teachers’ association, said they had written the let-ter to the VC on Sunday as there was no clear directive on the mode of classes from May 2.

Told about the clarification from the VC, he said they had not received any communication that the departments were free to choose between online and offline classes.

The government had on April 27 asked the colleges and universities to choose from three options as a temporary measure because of the heat spell that was prevailing across south Bengal — go online, bring forward the summer vacation or make suitable arrangements to protect the students and others from the heat.

Whatever option an institution would choose, would be effective from May 2.

A teacher said it would be unwise to hold online classes now as the temperature has come down a bit because of the rain on Saturday and Sunday.

The teachers had written to the VC that “the entire teaching community is very unhappy with the results of online classes (held  amid the pandemic)”.

Parthiba Basu, a professor in the zoology department, said they were unhappy because "it is impossible to make a fair assessment" in an online evaluation

“Everyone in the online assessment ends up with high scores and this cannot be a happy situation for a teacher,” said Basu, who is also president of the Calcutta University teachers’ association.

Last updated on 03.05.22, 07:37 AM
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