Jadavpur University will decide on how to take amove towards for this academic year preparation during this pandemic situation, keeping in mind that many of them do not have smartphones, a senior official said on Thursday. The university will certainly support to bridge the digital divide, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Chiranjib Bhattacharya said.
Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association recently nudged the institute authorities to connect with students who cannot afford smartphones and hence will be deprived of study materials if online classes are taken in the coming semester, JUTA General Secretary ParthaPratim Roy said.
JUTA also submitted a proposal of holding classes through phone calls where a student will interact with the teacher over the phone at a particular time, Roy said. Moreover, the modalities to implement this can be chalked out in consultation with every stakeholder. “We will certainly arrive at a decision in the best interest of students but within our financial ability,” Bhattacharya stated.
When they questioned about the arrangement of smartphones by university for students not having one due to financial reasons, Bhattacharya said, “There are issues like arranging funds for this. We also need to know the number of such students.”
“We have asked the student unions to share with us the details. We will hold a meeting by next week to discuss these issues and how to make class lectures and other academic activities accessible to the students,” the pro-VC said.
Another university teacher said that as per the survey done by students unions. Nearly 3 per cent of the students in engineering and science faculties do not have any smartphone. The range is higher in the arts stream in which many students hail from remote areas of the state, the teacher mentioned.
Bhattacharya said that the university is also positive about JUTAs proposal for uploading audio/video of teachers’ lectures in the JU portal. This can be downloaded by students of the department concerned. However, this too will not help students without internet connection, he said.
Roy asserted that they had also suggested. The university could make an arrangement with a company so that students can get quality handsets.
The university could fund the project partly or fully with the help of any grant. On this, the pro-VC said that there are lots of financial issues involved and “We can’t take a decision on this in a hurry.”
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