Press Trust of India|Apr 10, 2021
IIMC students demand reopening of campus, extension of semester
COVID-19: Online classes are not working for students learning video editing and layout design at Indian Institute of Mass Communication.
NEW DELHI: Biplab Mondal* was hoping to learn vocational skills that could pull his family out of poverty when he applied to study Hindi Journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Delhi.
With classes going online, Mondal, without a laptop, has been unable to learn basic skills that are taught in the practical lessons at the institute. “I had borrowed money from relatives to pay the hefty fee at IIMC. I do not own a laptop and learning video editing, layout designing, Hindi typing has been so difficult on my phone,” lamented Das.
Many others like Mondal have suffered academic loss, particularly hands-on learning experiences, due to the programme shifting online after the outbreak of coronavirus. Classes for courses like radio and television journalism, English, Hindi and vernacular language journalism are being conducted in online mode since April last year.
IIMC students, now scattered in various parts of the country, are demanding that the authorities reopen the campus in a phased manner. As many as 30 students of various departments of IIMC held a protest demonstration on campus against online classes on Monday. Reopening of the library, hostel and relaxation from paying the second-semester fee are some of the demands of these students.
IIMC offline classes and fee
Students have alleged that the administration has not kept its promise to restart offline classes in January despite paying the full fee.
“We were promised that college will reopen in January then we received another notice which said it has been postponed to February and then again in March. We have missed so many practical lessons, soon our placements will begin and without any practical knowledge no one will hire us,” said Raju Kumar, another Hindi Journalism student at IIMC.
On March 29 an official notice said that the institute will reopen in a “phased manner” for four language journalism courses on an “experimental basis” in April. However, no date has been specified for it. The remaining courses, the notice said, will continue in online mode as the class strength of other courses is 200. The institute will “explore the possibility of reopening campus” in the first week of May, it added.
“Students of these courses are welcome to join the respective centres (Kottayam, Amravati, Dhenkanal, and New Delhi respectively) in case they so desire,” the notice said. Further, all postgraduate diploma students are required to pay their second-semester fees by April 20. The classes for the current batch will end by August and the placement drive will commence two months before the end of the semester.
“I could not afford to buy a laptop because I had borrowed money to pay for my first-semester fee. I was hoping to learn more in the college lab. There are plenty of facilities available on campus. We have paid the money for it but we could not use it to learn,” Kumar added.
The students have argued that the institute has remained apathetic towards economically weaker students. Mondal and other students who did not own a laptop have alleged that the institute did not provide assistance despite several requests.
“The course material is not always available online. We want to access the college library and labs. We have paid the full amount last semester for the services we did not use. We are requesting the authorities to adjust our semester fee accordingly, “said Rythem Kumar, a student at IIMC.
The students, through the protest, have demanded the authorities to extend the duration of their course to catch up on practical skills. They have also demanded to increase the number of classes to make up for the academic loss in the previous semester.
The students have also demanded for the allotment of hostel accommodation for all outstation students. The institute in its notification said that the process of hostel room allotment will soon begin for the students especially for women studying in four language journalism courses.
*Name changed on request
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