Practical classes can be held: Calcutta University VC
Practical classes can be held on Calcutta University campuses, provided students attend them in small batches, vice-chancellor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee said on Monday.
The VC made the comment when Metro asked her about a letter from the Calcutta University Teachers’ Association urging her “to allow holding practical classes in willing departments maintaining Covid-19 safety protocols” since those classes are essential for many courses.
“It will be an injustice to the students to again go ahead with the teaching-learning process without holding any practical classes,” the letter reads.
Chakravarti Banerjee told this newspaper: “Teachers can hold practical classes on the campus in small clusters if they want. We were not allowing the exercise on the campus because of their safety. If they want to hold practical classes following the safety protocols, they can do so. We will sanitise the facilities.”
She, however, struck down the demand that the ongoing semester be extended by a month before the exams are held. The teachers made the demand so there is adequate time to complete the syllabus.
“We are bound by the UGC’s deadline,” she said.
Online classes at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels have been on since the middle of December.
The association decided to approach the VC after the university authorities had on January 1 informed the colleges and the department heads at the postgraduate level that the exams of the first, third and fifth semesters at the undergraduate level and the first and third semesters at the postgraduate level be held between March 8 and 26.
The university followed a UGC guideline on exams published in September in issuing the notification.
The teachers are worried how students will appear in the practical exams since no practical classes are being held.
“Practical classes cannot be held on digital platforms. Since the practical classes are not being held… the teaching-learning process is suffering immensely. The students will not be able to appear in the practical exams,” said Sankhayan Choudhury, the general secretary of the association.
Another member of the association said the university should have realised the problems being faced by students of science subjects.
“The UGC had also notified that for the 2020-21 academic session, the teaching-learning process may continue in offline, online and/or blended mode. So the university could take a decision on holding practical classes offline. But it chose not to act,” he said.