No CU practicals for even semester
Calcutta University will not reopen its campuses for in-person practical classes at the postgraduate level this semester, making a U-turn from its decision in the previous semester that ended in March, following a sharp rise in Covid cases.
Online theory classes at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels for the ongoing semester started on Monday.
In the previous semester (odd semester), CU was the only university in Bengal that reopened its campuses for practical classes.
Asked about the prospect of reopening labs in the even semester, vice-chancellor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee said: "We are not going to allow this now. (Covid) Cases are rising all over. It would not be advisable to recall students to the campus now. We cannot compromise with the health of students. As pro-vice-chancellor (academic) Asish Chatterjee had told the heads of all departments last week, only theory classes in the online mode will be held till the situation improves.”
The VC stressed that there had been a “drastic change in the ground situation” between the odd semester and the ongoing even semester.
CU had in January allowed practicals at Ballygunge Science College, Rajabazar Science College and other campuses and students were asked to attend the classes in small batches.
A month after the CU campuses reopened, education minister Partha Chatterjee had on February 3 sought to know from the pro-VC (academic) why the university had resumed lab classes in the absence of any directive from the education department.
Days later, VC Chakravarti Banerjee justified the reopening, saying many teachers and students had appealed to the university to resume practicals.
But the situation has drastically changed since. "Cases are rising sharply. Bringing students to the campus amid this could pose a health risk…. Under the circumstances we don’t want the campuses to reopen,” said Parthiba Basu, the president of the Calcutta University Teachers’ Association.
The same association had on January 1 urged the VC to allow resumption of practicals by following all Covid-19 safety protocols.
CU departments had last month held their practical exams online in the form of viva voce or by asking students to solve a problem on digital platforms.
A renewed surge in Covid cases is forcing institutes across the country to rethink their decision to recall students to the campuses.
IIEST Shibpur has called a meeting of the senate on April 7 to decide whether the supplementary exams could be conducted online.