Bengaluru, Oct 19, 2020: Colleges and universities across Karnataka are likely to commence classes in a phased manner from November 2. The Department of Higher Education earlier this month met Vice-Chancellors of different universities to work out the modalities.
Sources in the Higher Education Department said that they are also considering reopening colleges to conduct classes for students who wanted to clarify their doubts regarding online examinations.
‘Can’t force students’
“However, classes will be conducted on a voluntary basis. No college or university can force students to attend physical classes. We want to chalk out the modalities so that it is in the best interest of students’ health and academics,” the source said.
Many colleges have already started asking students to submit consent letters if they wish to attend classes from November 2 onwards.
However, not everyone is on board with the resumption of lectures. Echoing the views of some of his colleagues, a Vice-Chancellor of a State-run university said he was not in favour of this decision. “We just completed our final year examinations and will need another month to announce results and complete admissions to PG courses. Moreover, we are worried that COVID-19 cases may increase if we reopen colleges. We do not think it is a good idea to start classes till next year,” the V-C said.
A senior official from another university was of the opinion that the odd semester examinations which are conducted in December should be postponed.
“They can be held later next year once the number of COVID-19 cases reduces,” said the official.
Students and student organisations, too, have opposed the plan. “cases have not reduced completely and the State government should not make any decision in haste. A majority of students use public transport to commute to college, and they will be at risk,” said Amaresh Kadagada, State president, Students’ Federation of India.
In Karnataka, online classes commenced on September 1. Initially, the State government was planning to resume on-site lectures from October 1, but put it off owing to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The University Grants Commission guidelines said that first semester classes can begin on November 1.