Published: 23rd October 2020
From bringing students back to manufacturing 25k N95 masks everyday on campus, how IIT Kanpur has taken the pandemic head-on
The institute's Director Dr Abhay Karandikar says that the institute manufactures 25,000 N95 masks every day
Since the onset of the pandemic, IIT Kanpur has been at the forefront, churning out products and innovations, trying to get the situation under control. Recently, the institute was in the news for developing an indigenous ventilator, that costs less than half the price of imported ones. Its Director Dr Abhay Karandikar now says that these ventilators are used in at least 500 hospitals, across the country.
Speaking to EdexLive over the phone, he also says that an IITK incubated start-up has set up an N95 mask manufacturing unit on campus. "Every day, IITK produces 25,000 masks," he says. He adds that research is going on in the institute to help the country manage this health crisis better.
Karandikar spoke to us ahead of the institute's 53rd convocation, on October 21. "This is the first time that a convocation is being held virtually here. This was a difficult choice," he says. "We would have liked to have the students on campus. But we can't delay it further. Students are looking for their degrees for jobs and higher education," he adds.
At the same time, he says that around 600 research scholars are now back on campus. "By December, we are expecting 1000 students to be on campus. We have 7500 students, but now, we are only getting those whose research is getting affected. It is purely voluntary. Once they come, they have to quarantine in a designated hostel," he says.
While he admits that online education isn't quite flawless, he says that the students and the faculty have now come to terms with reality, which makes things easier. Accepting the issue of the digital divide, he says that the institute has done its bit to solve it. "Affordability is definitely an issue here. However, with the help of the alumni, we provided laptops and a broadband connection to around 300 students. Fifteen of our students live in areas without internet connectivity. We courier offline learning materials to them," he adds.