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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Some colleges reopen in Pune, others remain shut; glad to be back on campus, say students

Not all colleges in the city reopened, as either RT-PCR test reports of teachers were delayed or permission from civic officials was not received.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune |
Updated: February 16, 2021 1:18:38 am
Members of ABVP celebrating the opening of senior colleges by distributing sweets and playing drums at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) on Monday. (Express photograph by Arul Horizon)

As colleges across Pune were finally allowed to start conducting physical offline classes for undergraduate and post-graduate students from Monday, some colleges resumed classes while many colleges continued to remain shut. Offline classes started at the various departments of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) as well.

As students returned to classrooms after a gap of almost 11 months, campuses in the city came alive with their chatter as undergraduate and post-graduate students were visibly excited to come back to college, even as they adhered to stringent social distancing norms due to the Covid-19 situation.

Swapnil Joshi, a TYBSc student of Botany, has rented a PG accommodation to attend offline lectures, since the hostel is closed. “There were a lot of issues in online lectures like intermittent network connectivity, two-way communication gap with teachers, problems in grasping. Even though I can’t afford a private accommodation, I decided to take PG sharing accommodation since hostels are closed but I have to stay here in Pune to attend classroom lectures,” he said.

Most students agreed that offline lectures were distracting and several gaps in learning persisted.

Students at Modern College attending practicals. (Express Photo by Arul Horizon)

“We had practical work on Monday, which was pending since the last semester… and it was great to come back to college. There are a lot of distractions in online learning, some student’s video or audio is closed, some are present and keep shutting and opening it, leading to several distractions. Sometimes, the video gets stuck and we miss what the teacher has said, making it very frustrating. In offline classes, even the teachers are happier since they can see us and ascertain whether we are comprehending the lessons. The sessions become truly interactive,” said Prachi Karle, MSc Part II Biotechnology student of Modern College.

Shamkant Deshmukh, vice-principal of the college, said attendance figures were around 25 per cent. “Students are the anchor of an educational institution and we are glad to receive them on campus after 11 months. We are taking all precautions as per Covid-19 protocols,” he said.

Students at Modern college as the senior colleges resumed on Monday after the pandemic break. (Express photograph by Arul Horizon)

However, not all colleges in the city reopened as either RT-PCR test reports of teachers were delayed or permission from civic officials were not received.

Principal Gulshan Gidwani of St Mira’s College said that delay in receiving RT-PCR test reports of some teachers has led to delayed reopening. A spokesperson for DES Society, which runs Fergusson College and BMCC college, confirmed that neither had opened.

“Semester exams were on at Fergusson College and they are working on details of how to allow students to attend classes…. and also since hostels haven’t opened, outstation students can’t come in. At BMCC, some permissions from local civic authorities are awaited,” he said.

Meanwhile, at SPPU, where all departments resumed offline lectures, representatives of students’ organisation ABVP welcomed students with dhol-tasha and sweets.

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