Asserting demands to resume offline classes and hostel facilities, students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Monday have staged a protest seeking the intervention of the university administration to reopen it at the earliest.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown, universities are adhering the guidelines issued by the government, and studies through virtual modes have been an only option to get through the syllabus and semesters.
Students are facing various difficulties during their online schedule and learning has suffered to some extent. It includes accessibility of the internet, limitation of books, library access, lack of concentration via virtual interaction, and loss of studies.
Other central universities have issued tentative schedules to resume the classes and other functions on the campuses. However, AMU hasn’t issued any such circular or notification about the recommencement of its activities.
The Cognate tried to reach out to students of AMU, who were a part of this protest and tried to get a hold of their views about recommencement of the university and why it is important for them.
Shazil Hussain, a final year student of the postgraduate program in Mass communication and journalism told, “Being a part of professional course, we need to explore the practical aspects of it and it cannot be done through virtual mode”. The final semester includes production work wherein every student has to produce an original video film/ documentary.
“How can we come up with such practical assignments while staying at home, which will further hamper our evaluation, some of us don’t possess a camera and other equipment, for this to be done we really need departmental guidance and supervision, so University authorities should think over this”, he added.
Another student pursuing a master’s in social work Nuzhat Khan said, “At the end of the semester we have to submit a dissertation and hence we need timely guidance and supervision from our professors. We also need resources like the seminar library and the central library. This would be only feasible if students are present on campus”.
“University can take certain precautions in hostels such as daily sanitization and social distancing while they resume classes and hostels”, she further said.
Madiha Faheem post-graduated in English Literature this year and is concerned about placement. “I am done with my degree but expecting for placement opportunity which can be availed by being physically present at the campus. We hope that the university will consider our request to reopen the campus so that we can get some career guidance”, she said.
The students also presented the memorandum addressed to Vice Chancellor through Procter demanding the recommencement of the University and other facilities.
However, the University administration has not responded to the demands made by students. The University has not reported any case of COVID on campus till now; they have been following the guidelines issued by the government.
The officer at public relations at AMU said, “Yes we have received the memorandum by students but as of now we are following the order issued by the government in the wake of precautions to be made amid pandemics”.
AMU holds a strength of almost 30 thousand students out of which around 18-19 thousand are hostellers.
“Even if we allot one room per student we will not be able to maintain social distancing. As for the classes are concerned, if we will allow final year students then other students will also demand the same, and we are not in a position to contain students in hostels and conduct offline classes, we will decide accordingly on this”.
Constant demands have been made by students to reopen university as they are unable to keep up with their academics through the virtual process of learning.