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First-year classes at state-aided colleges from December

A vice-chancellor said holding classes on digital platforms may not always be possible because a large number of students lack access to smartphones and the internet
While most private institutions in Bengal have started online classes for first-year students, the state-aided colleges and universities have not been able to do so.

Subhankar Chowdhury   |   Calcutta   |   Published 03.11.20, 02:11 AM

First-year classes at state-aided colleges and universities are likely to start on digital platforms in December, said an official of the education department.

While most private institutions in Bengal have started online classes for first-year students, the state-aided colleges and universities have not been able to do so.

Metro had September 28 quoted education minister Partha Chatterjee as saying: “It will be difficult to start the academic session before the first week of December.”

Sources in the department said Chatterjee held a meeting with officials of the school education department on Monday at Bikash Bhavan on the possibility of reopening schools from November.

Endorsing the academic calendar drawn by the UGC, the ministry of education had on September 22 announced that it had taken into account the Covid-19 pandemic and decided that first-year undergraduate and postgraduate classes could start on November 1.

An education department official said they had pushed back the start of the classes to December considering the slew of festivals in November.

“An academic calendar will soon be drawn up. The classes will be held on digital platforms. The curricula cannot be completed on time if the session does not start in December,” he said. In Bengal, classes for students in other years in aided colleges and universities are already underway on digital platforms.

As the state government and railway officials are holding talks to resume suburban trains, the department is not ruling out the possibility of holding in-person classes later, sources said.

A vice-chancellor said holding classes on digital platforms may not always be possible because a large number of students lack access to smartphones and the internet.

Raiganj University in North Dinajpur had last month sought Rs 57.05 lakh from the state education department to create e-resources and buy smartphones for students who can’t afford them so they could attend classes on digital platforms.

Repeated calls to minister Chatterjee on Monday went unanswered.  

Regarding reopening of schools, a school education department official said as chief minister Mamata Banerjee had on September 30 said the Bengal government would think about reopening schools only after Kali Puja, they were preparing a report on how the institutions could be reopened. Kali Puja is on November 14.

Since the Madhymik and higher secondary examinations are only months away, there is a plan to start reopening the schools with the students of classes IX, X, XI and XII.

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