Teachers of IIT Kharagpur have written to the institute’s director, seeking reopening of the campus for offline classes from January.
They felt that the learning of students was suffering in the online mode and the research output of teachers was being adversely affected.
Many institutes like IIT Kharagpur have not spoken about the restart of in-person classes despite the state government allowing its own institutions to resume from November.
The IIT teachers said they conducted a survey among themselves that showed above 91 per cent want offline laboratory/practical classes and 83 per cent want examinations to be conducted from the next semester.
The results of the survey have been shared with the director V.K. Tewari on Thursday along with the letter.
The teachers are also apprehensive that the ranking of the institute will suffer if the teaching-learning process continues to get disrupted.
Classes are being held over digital platforms as a precaution against Covid over the past 19 months.
The letter says: “Hardly 11% wants online classes to continue for theory subjects….Therefore teachers request the administration for a thoughtful consideration of the valuable opinions/suggestions of teaching community....”.
At a special senate meeting held in early November, IIT Kharagpur resolved that the tech school lacks the infrastructure to run classes on hybrid mode — allowing some students to attend the lectures in person, while the others will have the sessions live-streamed to them — and classes will continue to be held online till most of the students are recalled.
A teacher of the IIT Kharagpur said they wanted the students to be recalled at the earliest and offline classes resumed from the semester beginning in January.
The sample survey conducted from November 5 to 10 says out of 145 respondents, 118 (81.4 per cent) teachers think that undergraduate, postgraduate and research scholars have suffered the most in absence of offline classes.
Of the 145, 98 teachers which translate to 67.6 per cent think that the research performance of the faculties have suffered as well.
Repeated calls and message to director V.K. Tewari went unanswered.
In the letter, the teachers have said schools from classes IX to XII and colleges and universities in Bengal would start in-classroom education from November.
“Several IITs have already invited batches of students and are contemplating to begin offline classes from Spring 2021-22 semester, ” the letter says.
At this moment 3,000-odd students — BTech, MTech and PhD put together — which account for 20 per cent of the total strength are present on the campus, to attend online classes from WiFi-enabled hostels and to carry out research work.
In the survey over 84 percent teachers have opined that facilities of the campus hospital need to be augmented substantially or a new facility to be created for handling Covid-like diseases so this could come handy when students arrive for offline classes.
“Other IITs have already augmented the medical facilities. Accepting that Covid will not go away easily, the institute has to beef up its facility and then recall its students for in-person academic activities. IIT Kharagpur cannot sit quiet till Covid subsides,” said a teacher.