How EFLU's VC, foreign students managed to get short, informative videos out on COVID 

Launched by Union Minister of MHRD Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, these short yet effective YouTube videos talk about the right way of washing hands and how to maintain appropriate social distance  
Professor E Suresh Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, EFLU | (Pic: Express)
Professor E Suresh Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, EFLU | (Pic: Express)

Let's agree that there is information overload as far as COVID-19 is concerned. Effective and brief is the key, especially when it comes to sharing details about precautions like washing hands and social distancing. The videos by the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad pretty much nail it when it comes to these criteria. Even the Union Minister of Human Resources Development Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank would agree, after all, it was he who launched the videos online on April 23, 2020. There are two themes, one is washing hands and the other is social distancing, and the videos are in many languages namely, Telugu, Hindi, English, Chinese, Korean, German, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese and more. "Our strengths are our languages and our Educational Multimedia Research Centre, so we decided to play to our strengths," says Professor E Suresh Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, EFLU and the brains behind the project.

When the idea came to him
It happened in the professor's own house, when the domestic help wouldn't comply with the 20-second rule of washing hands, he thought about releasing simple yet impactful videos as a part of EFLU's University Social Responsibility (USR). With a generous donation of Rs 50,000 from his own salary and kind donations from others, they built an endowment fund. Through the funds, they aired a few jingles on the radio to spread awareness about Coronavirus and do their bit as a university. "But I was not satisfied. It was in Telugu, we were able to reach only a few people and it was expensive as well," informs the VC. That's when he proposed the idea of making videos. But it wasn't as simple as that. "We needed a small crew, but no one was able to turn up because of the lockdown. Somehow, I spoke to the police, acquired permission for two to three people and we were finally able to pull it off," says the professor with a satisfied smile.

While the concept was the VC's, in fact, he tells us he gave five different concepts, they took the help of professors and a few foreign students from the 92 who are currently residing in the hostel. "In fact, the video of washing hands was shot in the bathroom in my own chambers on campus," he shares with a hearty laugh. A point to note is that none of the videos are over five minutes long, and are all animated and the diction is clear cut. All the videos were shot and edited in two weeks flat.

Dr Pokhriyal's nod
When the VC sent an email to Dr Pokhriyal's secretary, they got back to him with an almost immediate affirmation. "They requested me to send the videos and the next morning, it was launched," says the happy VC. He is more than willing to explore more ways in which the university can help in spreading awareness. "I do have a few ideas on how we can reach out to the society and once the lockdown is lifted, we can start working on them," he informs.

"Every university has its own strength and there are over 900 universities in India. If every university comes up with one innovative programme based on their strengths, we will be so much more successful as a society. Each university should have USR which will strengthen the connection between campus and society," says the VC as he signs off.

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