Published: 28th July 2020
IIT Kanpur starts crowdfunding campaign, asks alumni to help poor students buy laptops to attend online classes
The institute aims to raise Rs 3 Crore to help 600 poor students. The next semester will be held completely online
To beat the digital divide among their students as online classes begin, IIT Kanpur has now come up with a #OneAlumnusOneStudent programme to solve this issue. Through this programme, the IIT management is asking its alumni to sponsor a laptop and internet connection for a poor student. The institute now aims to crowdfund Rs 3 Crore to help 600 students, with Rs 50,000 allotted to each student. The alumni can choose the number of students they want to sponsor. Otherwise, they can contribute any amount that they wish.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to make significant changes in the way the upcoming semester would be taught. IITK has taken the decision to go completely online for the semester. The biggest logistic issue in implementing this policy for undergraduate students is that several students belong to lower economic backgrounds and hence, cannot afford necessary hardware like laptops and broadband connections to support online education. We are running this campaign to make sure no one is left behind in their education," says the institute's director Abhay Karandikar.
Karandikar adds that the response from the alumni has been overwhelming. "Within three days of launching, we have already received donations from around 200 alumni (as of writing) and this number is increasing each day," he says. He added that the institute had conducted a survey to identify these students, before kickstarting the campaign. "Around 600-700 students have signed up asking for support in procuring a device and broadband," he said. However, the institute did not have the budget to fund these requirements.
He also added that the donations are completely voluntary. "Those are convinced and wish to support can support. Those who do not wish need not support," he added. Recently, IIT Bombay had also asked its alumni to support the underprivileged students and help them continue their education online.