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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

IIEST Shibpur to give tabs to students for online classes

For the first phase, the institute has made a list of candidates based on their annual family income

Subhankar Chowdhury Howrah Published 11.05.21, 03:01 AM
Classes are being held on digital platforms as a precaution against Covid since March last year.

Classes are being held on digital platforms as a precaution against Covid since March last year. Shutterstock

IIEST, Shibpur, will give tabs to students who don’t have devices so they can attend classes on online platforms.

For the first phase, the institute has made a list of 40 students based on their annual family income.

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Students whose annual family income is less than Rs 1 lakh have been chosen, an official of the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology said.

Classes are being held on digital platforms as a precaution against Covid since March last year, but many students have found the change difficult because of a lack of devices or data connectivity.

“Since students are not present on the campus, we will send the devices through post to their residential addresses. Classes will continue to be held on digital platforms because of the prolonged run of the pandemic and we don’t want poor students to suffer for want of devices,” IIEST director Parthasarathi Chakrabarti told The Telegraph.

A survey that the institute had carried out last September had revealed that a section of students at IIEST could not attend online classes in the last semester because of a lack of smart devices.

The survey collected information on the students’ ability to attend the autumn semester based on their experience in the previous semester.

The situation has remained the same.

Aman Kumar, the acting general secretary of the students’ union, said the IIEST authorities should have acted on this much earlier considering that the institute’s own survey had shown that the digital divide was coming in the way of a section of students attending online classes.

“Although I am glad to learn that some 40 students will receive devices, this should have been done much earlier, ideally last year. The institute had constituted a digital education hub in August last year with contribution from an alumnus. So, it is not clear why the institute took so long to give the devices,” Kumar said.

“I hope more students receive such support because the number of students who encounter the digital divide is substantial.”

Debrabrata Majumder, the dean of students’ affairs, said they selected the students from a pool of those who receive full tuition fee waiver because their family income is below Rs 1 lakh a year. “We have selected students from this strata because their financial condition is extremely poor. Formalities prior to sending the devices are currently being pursued.”

Buying the devices has cost the institute close to Rs 6 lakh, which is being spent from the digital education hub corpus.

Last year, Sunandan Narayan Basu, who had graduated from Bengal Engineering College 64 years ago, donated Rs 1 crore to his alma mater towards setting up the hub.

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