Covid vaccination camps commence in colleges of north Bengal
The Siliguri Municipal Corporation on Wednesday launched Covid-19 vaccination camps at seven colleges, both government and private, to jab students and staff.
The drive, first-of-its-kind in north Bengal, is expected to expedite the process of reopening of these institutions, closed in the wake of the pandemic since March last year, for offline classes.
The initiative was flagged off by Gautam Deb, the chairperson of the board of administrators, SMC, at Siliguri College on Wednesday.
“The decision was made at a meeting held with the heads of these institutions at the civic body on Tuesday. From today (Wednesday), we have launched the initiative. As per the plan, vaccination camps will be held in each of these seven colleges. Along with the students, the teaching and nonteaching staff who have not yet been vaccinated will also get the jab at these camps,” said Deb.
According to him, there is a plan to vaccinate around 15,000 college students, including the students who will take admission this year.
Along with Siliguri College, such camps will be organised in Siliguri College of Commerce, Munshi Premchand College, Surya Sen College, Siliguri Government Polytechnic, Siliguri Mahila Mahavidyalaya and in Salesian College, located across the town.
Ever since the pandemic has hit the country, education is one of the sectors which have taken a beating. Whether it is a school or a college, Recently, the demand to reopen educational institutions was raised repeatedly as to ensure that every student has access to learning.
During this period, academicians have time and again pointed out that like many school students, there are college students who do not have access to online classes which are organized by the educational institutions.
Also, online classes are no match to physical classes and students engaged in higher studies in different streams are deprived of practical lab sessionslearning in labs and in the field.
Pranab Ghosh, the registrar of North Bengal University, said: “Teachers cannot give their best in online classes. Also, it is difficult for students to understand certain lessons online. A comprehensive vaccination of all students, teaching and nonteaching staff of a college can largely help in resuming classes at the institution.”
Last month, a similar initiative was taken in Chennai where vaccination camps are being held in colleges.
In Bengal, such camps were held in some colleges of Calcutta.
In Siliguri College, a number of students turned up to get them jabbed on Wednesday.
Hritankar Basak, a fifthsemester student of B.Sc general course, thanked the authorities for organising the camp. “We are studying science subjects where we need regular practical classes. Though, the teachers have been very supportive, but I feel opening the college for classes is very important for further studies,” he added.
The plan drawn up by the civic body to vaccinate college students at their respective institutions has also made The initiative taken by the SMC has prompted the Darjeeling district health department to draw a similar plan to vaccinate students and staff in other colleges of the district located in the hills and outside the Siliguri civic area.
There are around 15 government and private colleges situated in the rural areas of Siliguri subdivision and in three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik.
“We plan to continue the drive of vaccinating the college students in all such institutions located across the district. We are making preparations and such camps will be held soon,” said Pralay Acharya, the chief medical officer of health (CMOH) of Darjeeling.
The drive would also make easier for the state government to review its plan to reopen educational institutions after the Durga Puja, pointed out Jayanta Kar, president of the governing body of Siliguri College.
“The state will have a comprehensive database about each of these colleges as to how many students, teachers and other staff are fully vaccinated. This we believe, would help in making decisions regarding reopening of the colleges,” said Kar.