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CU undergrads keen to attend practicals

This follows the varsity’s decision to allow its postgraduate departments to resume lab work from Monday in small batches
“The students are getting worried because semester exams are likely to be held in March. We are waiting for instructions from the university,” said Joydeep Sarangi, the principal of New Alipore College
“The students are getting worried because semester exams are likely to be held in March. We are waiting for instructions from the university,” said Joydeep Sarangi, the principal of New Alipore College
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Subhankar Chowdhury   |   Calcutta   |   Published 18.01.21, 02:33 AM

Undergraduate students of colleges under Calcutta University are writing to the authorities asking when practical classes will resume on the campuses, an official of the university said.

This follows CU’s decision to allow its postgraduate departments to start practical classes from Monday in small batches.

“The students are getting worried because semester exams are likely to be held in March. We are waiting for instructions from the university,” said Joydeep Sarangi, the principal of New Alipore College.

Practical classes, unlike theory classes, cannot be held on digital platforms.

The principal of a college in central Calcutta said: “The university’s decision to permit its postgraduate departments to start holding practical classes from Monday has made our students more eager.”

Practical classes for CU’s postgraduate batches can be held provided students attend them in small groups and follow the safety protocols, vice-chancellor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee had said on January 11.

A day later, CU pro-vice-chancellor (academic) Asis Chattopadhyay wrote a mail to departmental heads: “This is for your kind information that the departments those are willing to conduct practical classes may start the process as soon as possible, in small batches of students provided they agree, by strictly maintaining Covid-19 safety protocols”.

But till date no such instructions have reached the college principals.

“We are waiting for orders from the university or the government. I believe the university and the government must be in the know of this. I think they will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time,” said Somnath Mukhopadhyay, the principal of Dinabandhu Andrews College and office secretary of the All Bengal Principals’ Council.      

A university official said they wanted to first assess whether the postgraduate departments could successfully hold practical classes following the safety protocols before taking a call on what could be done at the undergraduate level.

They also want to assess whether the decision to reopen the campuses at the master’s level has resulted in any adverse health impact on students and teachers.

“There is a need to tread cautiously, given that the colleges have a larger number of students. The colleges are spread across districts as well and it would be difficult to centrally monitor whether each college is abiding by the safety protocols,” said an official of the university.

The university has over 140 colleges affiliated to it.

Another official said in case of the postgraduate departments, the Calcutta University Teachers’ Association wrote to the VC urging her “to allow holding practical classes in willing departments maintaining Covid-19 safety protocols” since those classes are essential for many courses.

Days after pro-VC Chattopadhyay had told the heads that the first and third semester postgraduate exams would be held from March 8 to March 26, the association approached the VC on January 6.

“We have not received any such appeal from the principals’ council,” said the official.

Repeated calls to VC Chakravarti Banerjee went unanswered. She also did not respond to the text messages.

Calls and messages to registrar Debasish Das did not elicit any response.

The department of chemistry, which is first among the departments of Calcutta University to start postgra-duate practical classes on campus from Monday, will resume lab work only for third semester students to avoid crowding.



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