Students Raise Objections at Compulsory Offline College

by Parimal Saraf

The Times of India on the 8th of December reported that students of different colleges in Mumbai have been complaining that colleges have not accommodated for hybrid mode. 

The Times of India had reported that a college in Mumbai has decided to start compulsory offline lectures for a course. While another college is planning to run classes offline for the first week and repeat the syllabus online the next. 

The Higher and Technical Education minister for Maharashtra, Uday Samant, had said that all colleges and universities across Maharashtra could conduct offline colleges from the 20th of October. Mr Samant had also said that every university should issue a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the colleges that are affiliated with it. As per the standard operating procedures issued by Mumbai University, a maximum of 50 per cent of students can sit in a class. Furthermore, colleges should also give students the option of attending online sessions. The SOP further states that the colleges should also keep a record of the Covid-19 vaccination certificate of every student and staff member attending physical sessions. 

Although these are the SOPs for colleges in Mumbai, a few students have raised their objections because colleges have not kept a hybrid mode for students. The Times of India had reported that the students of the SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Sion (W) had raised their concerns regarding compulsory offline colleges. The Times of India further reported that Pradeep Sawant (a university senate member) had received complaints from said college students. Furthermore, a teacher had denied these allegations and stated all the classes are running in hybrid mode. 

I went to SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce to check this news myself. I did find that the college is running hybrid mode however when I went to the degree section of the college, I did not find the same. So to dig in further, I decided to speak with a few students and a professor regarding the same. 

A student with whom I spoke commented the following: “The college has still not announced or operationalised a true blended model that achieves its purpose of proving beneficial to outstation/vulnerable students despite the notice from MU. It is immensely disheartening and pushes students into silenced corners with their opportunity to learn and graduate stolen from them.” 

Another student had commented similarly. They stated that the institute has not done enough to provide for the needs of the students. They further commented that the students who have not completed their vaccination are not getting equal opportunities to learn as they were missing their lectures. 

However, while speaking with a professor; they commented that the government should have considered the facilities for the hybrid model. They further stated that there is a way that students should have handled this and the government is hearing only one side of the argument. The institution is not getting an opportunity to explain its side. The professor also stated that the students should have complained to the relevant institutional authorities. In addition, they commented that the existing infrastructure is not enough to cope with the current demand. In addition, there are time and money constraints. 

Additionally, another student told me that due to the complaint, the college has kept a day or two reserved for online lectures. 

While both sides of the argument are valid, the complaints of the students should be investigated. Furthermore, the institutions should get an opportunity to present their case and if lack of infrastructure is a problem then the government should provide enough to help colleges for hybrid mode. 

Reference: Times of India

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