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In-person classes a blessing for Jadavpur University student duo

Final year international relations postgraduate students Biswanath Maiti and Arup Maity share what in-person classes mean to them

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 17.11.21, 07:28 AM
Arup Maity and Biswanath Maiti.

Arup Maity and Biswanath Maiti.

Bishwarup Dutta

Two Jadavpur University students from South 24-Parganas, who encountered difficulty in attending online classes because of unstable connectivity and resource constraints, said resumption of offline classes from Tuesday blurs the urban and rural divide in access to education.

Biswanath Maiti and Arup Maity who are in the final year of their postgraduate course in international relations, shared with The Telegraph what the in-person classes meant to them.


Biswanath Maiti

It was a combination of poor connectivity and resource constraints that posed challenges in attending classes over digital platforms, said Biswanath Maity.

As someone who has studied the undergraduate programme in the same discipline at JU, Biswanath said, he could realise what he had missed out on over the past 20 months while attending online classes at the masters level.

“I stay at a place called Kachuberia in Gangasagar. After two cyclones in two successive years, the network service became increasingly poor.” The problem compounded when Cyclone Yaas had struck in May. 

Biswanath said as heavy rain lashed their house and damaged the belongings, water seeped into his smartphone and disabled it.

“My father is a farmer. His earnings have depleted as the saline water during the successive cyclones has made the land infertile. I had to wait till the Puja to buy another phone,” said Biswanath.

During these four months, he would use his mother’s phone to speak to his friends so that study did not stop entirely. “After I attended the offline classes today, I can tell you in-person classes blur the urban and rural divide in access to education.”

Arup Maity

Arup Maity, who stays in a place called Gangadharpur in Kakdwip, said he could not attend a single class for several days because of the poor connectivity.

“I have tried the network of several service providers. But it did not help,” said Arup, who also completed his graduation in the same discipline.

It was not only network woes that troubled, said Arup.

“The frequent power outage too posed a challenge.”

His father works as a labourer in dock in Tamil Nadu.

The display of the smartphone has not been working over the past fortnight.

“I could not have it repaired immediately as repairing will cost Rs 2,500,” he said.

Resumption of physical classes is nothing short of a blessing for Arup as it will help him access the departmental library and central library. “As a victim of the digital divide, I can say offline classes conducted with the safety protocols are the only way forward for us.”

Last updated on 17.11.21, 07:28 AM

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