Published: 11th May 2020
Without a single class or teacher for an entire semester, Jamia wants students to register for exams, students protest
The students are tense that they will be evaluated on a subject that they have not studied at all and the teachers assured that they will be taught for at least five weeks before an evaluation
First-year students of Masters in Tourism and Travel Management (TTM) at the Jamia Millia Islamia have no teachers to teach Spanish and air ticketing courses. While this issue cropped up in January when the semester started, the students are more anxious than ever as the university has asked them to submit the examination form for the semester evaluation which includes these subjects. But the head of the department, Dr Nimit Chowdhary said that the university will make a decision on the issue soon. Sources also said that the evaluation will only happen after the students are taught for at least five weeks.
The students are tense that they will be evaluated on a subject that they have not studied at all. "Not only have we not had a single lecture till date on Spanish or air ticketing, we do not even have the syllabus for Spanish. Whenever we asked the teachers they said they will figure out and asked us not to worry," said Kaif Alam, a first-year student of the course. "Moreover, there's the issue of connectivity when it comes to online classes. I myself take part-time classes in language from the university and it is extremely difficult to study a language remotely," he added.
Dr Chowdhary, the head of the department, said that he understands that it is only normal for the students to be scared of the situation and it is only fair that they are anxious. "I understand their mental state. I have written to the authorities and a high power committee had a meeting on May 4. I am yet to receive direction from them but as soon as they come up with a solution, I will make sure that the classes start within 24 hours," he said.
The committee has also been informed that there is a language in question and it will take at least five weeks to complete it. "The committee was informed that the department needs a Spanish teacher when the guest lecturer had left in January for a position in Jawaharlal Nehru University in January 2020. But then it got delayed because of the ongoing protests and now because of the COVID pandemic. But the authorities were also constantly updated and informed that this is a language course and it will need more than a few weeks. We understand that it takes more time to teach a language course than a marketing course — a minimum of five weeks have been demanded and the teacher will keep evaluating the students during the classes as there is no en-semester exam now," said a senior member of the faculty at the department.
The JMI unit of the All India Students Association (AISA) said that burdening students with a paper that has not been taught yet will affect their academic performance. "As of now, no online class has commenced for the paper. How would few online class solve the crisis and how productive and inclusive would online lectures be, given that it has its own limitations. We demand concrete steps from the Jamia admin in such testing times instead of a window dressing," said AISA in a release.
Similarly, Campus Front's JMI unit in a press release reiterated the demands made by students of MTTM (JMI) and said that at this time of the global pandemic they expect the Jamia administration and faculty to be sensitive towards the difficulties of students as many suffer from anxiety or economic uncertainty due to these unprecedented times. "Such insensitive behaviour is shocking as well as saddening at the same time. We expect this issue to be taken on priority and addressed without any further delay," their statement added.