July 10, 2021 11:02:25 am
As the Covid pandemic hit last year, universities and schools were forced to shift to a completely online mode of education, with many students being left without the infrastructural support needed to continue their education. Keeping this in mind, MA History students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have started a fundraiser for purchasing laptops for the “marginalized” students in their class.
In November last year, a second-year student of Lady Shri Ram College had died by suicide in her Telangana home. In her suicide note, she had written her “education was a burden”. One of the issues, according to her family, was that they were not able to afford a laptop which made her lag in her studies.
The online fundraiser has been aimed at collecting Rs 3.4 lakh for purchasing laptops for 15 students.
“The pandemic rages on, while many students have had little material support as they continue to grapple with online education. Our peers have struggled to read entire books and prepare regular assignments on their smartphones in short periods, and only a bare few have managed to borrow laptops from friends and acquaintances for a limited amount of time,” the students of the Centre for Historical Studies (CHS) have said on Ketto – a fundraising website.
“Keeping the unpredictability of the pandemic and the difference in access to resources in mind, we feel that it is no longer tenable to have such a situation continue. People require laptops for regular extensive reading, for writing weekly multiple elaborate assignments, for attending classes every day. Not addressing these issues leaves people susceptible to dropping out, as families with limited means may, and have in a few cases, implore students, especially female ones, to leave the programme rather than divert limited resources to fulfilling such needs in an already compromised financial situation, shaped by the pandemic and lockdowns,” they said.
The students said they were collecting funds to “help our classmates purchase laptops to read digital copies of books conducingly and complete elaborate assignments (sic)”.
“The gathered funds will be allocated in units of Rs 25,000-30,000 (depending on the gross sum of funds) to the concerned students’ bank accounts for them to purchase an optimal yet cheap laptop as per their convenience. We will keep a record of their transactions and gather invoices and other soft proof of their purchases for the express purposes of accountability and transparency,” the text says.
At the time of filing the report, around Rs 2.76 lakh had been collected.
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