india

Engineering colleges grapple with challenges in conducting in-person classes

While many opine that it is prudent to club both the semesters

Not all engineering colleges in the region have been able to start in-person classes for first year students from the first week of this month as per the instructions issued by Anna University.

Managements of at least a handful of colleges took longer than the planned time to set right the infrastructure that had undergone only limited maintenance for nearly a year.

Due to truncated cash flow caused by the prolonged lockdown, incurring huge costs for disinfection of classrooms and hostel buildings in time and putting in place other safety measures as per the Standard Operating Procedure of the State Government turned out to be a challenge for these colleges. However, the learning activity has not been disturbed as teachers, notwithstanding the salary cuts imposed by the managements, were continuing the online classes for the students.

In-person classes began for final-year students from the second week of last December.

As per the instructions of the State Government, in-person classes had to be conducted for first-year students with 50 % strength from February 5. But then, it was optional for students to attend these classes. It was convenient for the colleges to provide the students with online study material and access to e-resources, a principal said.

According to a representative of a private college management, classes for the second and third year students will be conducted without any hassles from March 15, and April 5 respectively.

Nevertheless, the colleges were still clueless on how the 2020-21 academic session will progress, as there was lot of portions to be covered.

“In normal circumstances, the focus on practical component of the even semester used to begin in March. But now, we have no idea as to when the practical component for the odd semester will be completed,” a senior professor said.

Most managements of private engineering colleges opine that it would be prudent under the prevailing circumstances to club both semesters for this academic year, though they do admit that the scope for this is limited since it would require the Union Ministry of Higher Education, the University Grants Commission, the AICTE, the State Government, and the Anna University to be on the same page.

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