Delhi University to reopen for science students from August 16

After being closed since March 2020, the University had decided to allow its final-year students who needed to use laboratories and access practical classes to return to their colleges and departments in February.

Classes and practical work for students in science programmes at Delhi University will be conducted in the physical mode starting from August 16.

After being closed since March 2020, the University had decided to allow its final-year students who needed to use laboratories and access practical classes to return to their colleges and departments in February. However, this wound up in April with the onset of the Covid second wave.

Now, the university has taken the call to move classes offline for all undergraduate and postgraduate students of science courses.

An order from the Registrar’s office states, “Taking note of the number of Covid-19 cases, it has been decided that classes and practical/project work etc in respect of PG and UG Programmes students in Science Courses in University and its Colleges shall be conducted in physical mode with effect from 16.08.2021 observing necessary protocol to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

So far, any kind of physical attendance in educational institutes in Delhi since the start of the pandemic has been voluntary. This is the first decision to move classes completely offline for a section of students. When the University and its colleges re-open for science students on August 16, only final-year students will return as the semester has not yet begun for second-year students and admissions have not been done for first-year students.

Once the academic calendar resumes for second-year students, they are likely to be called for physical classes as well.

“Initially, we had decided to re-open only final-year students, but teachers said it is very difficult to teach in a ‘half-and-half-way’ with different modes for different sets of students. Given that Covid seems to be very much under control now, we decided that science students can return especially because they need the hands-on experience of being in the classrooms and laboratories,” said registrar Vikas Gupta.

Hostels will re-open for outstation students, however, the university maintains that it cannot guarantee campus accommodation for all those who have been called back.

“Science students make up only about 25% of all students in the university so I don’t think accommodation will be a problem. They will be accommodated in the college and university hostels to the extent possible, but we cannot guarantee that all students will get it. Accommodation will be available at the PGs as well, where there will be less load than usual. The supply will be far more than the demand,” said Gupta.

 

Online teaching and learning will continue for students of all other programmes.

Some teachers, however, have expressed apprehensions over the move. Delhi University Teachers’ Association Treasurer Abha Dev Habib said: “Can a notice ask classes for any stream to be held in physical mode? It is easy to write that all protocols should be followed but how to ensure that they are followed or in fact, can be followed. In both UG colleges and Science Departments, there is over-crowding in classrooms and labs. MSc Physics Dept has more number of students than can be actually accommodated… Can the University expect students to return to Delhi and find accommodation in 10 days?… The University has not cared to publish any report on how many students, teachers and karamcharis have been able to get themselves and their families vaccinated.”

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