Anxiety grips university students

Don’t shut down in-person classes

Published : 13 Jan 2022 08:43 PM

A fresh anxiety continues to run high throughout the public university campuses due to reappearance of new coronavirus variants.

Country’s all public universities reopened gradually from the mid October of last year after the closure of one and half years due to Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Since then the students and teachers in all the higher educational institutions are in a festive mood, as they finally have come to the normal pace of the life. 

Students are attending the classes and sitting for different tests maintaining health guidelines including wearing masks and using sanitisers physically. Besides, teachers are also working hard round the clock to recover students’ learning loss caused by the pandemic. Apart from these, the public universities are also passing busy time for the admission process of first year honours students for 2020-21 academic session.

University authorities will have to prepare a roadmap that how 

and in what way they can face the present situation in order to 

overcome the session jam caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and 

continue the academic activities physically

The government shut down educational institutions on March 17, in 2020 after the country reported its first Covid-19 cases on March 8. Therefore, the students, who have already suffered too large an educational deficit, will have to face serious challenges again to recover their learning loss and complete honours and masters degrees on time.

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology has already halted in-person classes. Theory classes, class tests and laboratory classes for all the students of the university will be held online from tomorrow till further instructions.

Earlier on 5th January, Jahangirnagar University also halted in-person classes considering the risks posed by the rising Covid-19 infections.  The ongoing test and practical classes will continue in accordance with the hygiene rules. If necessary, the examination halls and the number of groups for practical examinations will be increased.

However, some other public universities are also planning to go for online classes for their students to curb the Covid-19 outbreak. But Dipu Moni, the Education Minister has already made her stand clear that closing down in-person classes at universities would not be logical as most of the university students and teachers are vaccinated. Over 96 percent to 97 percent of students of public and private universities are vaccinated across the country. In this regard, the students and teachers of the universities must abide by health safety rules to avert coronavirus infection. 

And the vaccination drive will be strengthened so that 100 percent students can be brought under vaccination coverage. Besides, university authorities will have to prepare a roadmap that how and in what way they can face the present situation in order to overcome the session jam caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and continue the academic activities physically.

In this regard, authorities can take necessary steps to reduce the duration of classes and various examinations in the prevailing situation. But they should not go for taking online classes again as there is no alternative to attending class in-person to understand the lesson completely. Also, all the stakeholders will also have to provide all-out support in running the university activities at any cost.

The university authorities will also have to take all necessary preparations to protect their students, teachers and staffs alongside running academic activities. They must issue some guidelines as part of preparations to continue academic activities and keep the institutions clean and tidy by taking utmost care to prevent the deadly virus. And the physicians and experts of the universities will have to continue monitoring and inspecting students, teachers and staffs’ health condition.

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is dangerous especially for those who have not been vaccinated. It is very important to take precautions at the both inside and outside the classrooms alongside the residential halls to prevent the spread of the new variant of Covid-19.

If the university authorities will ensure that students will be able to continue their educational activities in a safe and healthy environment and make up their learning loss that they lost, students will not fall into a serious session jam problem.

The students of final year and postgraduate level were supposed to sit for 8th semester (final year exam for yearly system) and the second-semester exams respectively by this year to wrap up their university studies but the pandemic shattered their hopes of appearing in the exams. Therefore, if the universities do not continue class in-person, students can not avoid a session jam.

Sheikh Mehzabin Chitra is a University Correspondent of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), Bangladesh Post.