Tiruchi colleges brace for challenging tasks ahead

Colleges are bracing themselves up for tough tasks ahead in the wake of the Government issuing Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines for opening of higher educational institutions from the start of September post lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vaccination camps in institutions announced by the government has been welcomed by the college heads, since, as per their assessment, not more than 50 percent of both staff and students had got themselves vaccinated. However, the challenge is in operating the hostels, according to a principal of one of the leading arts and science colleges in the city.

Colleges and universities have been asked to reduce the class size to 50 percent and maintain physical distancing by following the rotational system. "However, the hostel students will have to be accommodated. Leave alone the difficulty in suddently arranging for cooks and helpers, there is no way to cut down the number of students in the hostels," the college head said.

The government has advocated lesser density of students in hostels through encouraging them to stay in houses of relatives in nearby areas. "But, the reality is that relatives have, by and large, become wary of accommodating the students in the current situation.

"It is true that students are fatigued due to remaining at home for so long and are longing to get back to the colleges. But, herein lies the trouble. Preventing students from mingling with one another, particularly in hostels, will be a tough proposition," another principal said.

The colleges are stated to be on their toes since they will have to identify cooks and helpers to run the hostels within the next few days.

There was no way for the colleges to retain the cooks since the lockdown duration had exceeded well beyond a year. They had all gone back to their villages, and are not inclined to come back, say hostel wardens.

Nevertheless, teachers have cause for relief since the online teaching-learning was never working on desired lines, according to the college heads.

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