Bad internet, hurried lessons, instant karma: Why JNU's students think they're being shortchanged by online classes

The students also complained that the classes are rescheduled or cancelled without prior notice and that disrupts their routine
Jawaharlal Nehru University (Pic: PTI)
Jawaharlal Nehru University (Pic: PTI)

The students of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University say that not only are the online classes divisive because a majority of them have poor internet connectivity at home, the classes are also not being conducted properly. 

In a compilation of anonymous testimonials from students across disciplines, the students point out their various issues that have come with the last year. The JNUSU conducted a meeting with around 100 first-year students of the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, on May 5, where they discussed these issues and came out with the compilation this week. The document is being sent to the administration.

A student of Korean Studies who is from a small village in the Himalayas said that internet penetration is minimal in his area and he often finds himself on a field, trying to get better connectivity. He also added that there is a lack of proper guidance. "There is no proper clarification of doubts during classes. We have to complete a six-month semester in three months, which leaves us with day and night of studies and no holidays. The number of extra classes and the load of the syllabus is immense. Which is really stressful with no help from either seniors or faculty. A one-hour class is never sufficient for students to clear their doubts," said the student.

The students also complained that the classes are rescheduled or cancelled without prior notice and that disrupts their routine. "Classes are not taken as per the timetable and are frequently shifted," said the student and added that so much pressure and irregularities to top it all off has made him lose interest in the course.

It gets worse. A student of Persian at the university's Centre of Persian and Central Asian Studies said that he does not know how to write a single word in Persian even after completing a year. "Even after the end semester exam, I don't know even a single letter to write in Persian," said the student. But aren't the teachers helping? "Teachers say 'ask me if you're facing a problem'. But it becomes impossible for a student like me because internet availability is not constant. Whenever I joined a class, teachers would ask me to read a paragraph (which were written in Persian, which I don't know as classes began much earlier and I was not informed), I used to end that call, as I was afraid of humiliation among students," he added. 

The students said that no remedial classes were organised. "It is because of this system that only around 20 students had completed their end semester out of the initial strength of thirty-eight," said a student, alleging that almost half the class dropped out because of these reasons.

The syllabus was also completed in a hurry just to match the schedule, said the students who are studying Arabic. "Our semester started from January 20 and we sat for our first-semester exams on April 15. The six-month syllabus was completed in two and a half months. In each of these classes, our professors completed the whole chapter, so we don't get much time to grasp the lessons," said a student. "It's all just an exhausting process. There was no interaction, loss of internet connection was common. Even a radio may serve us better than these online classes," they added.

That being said it is a fact that students across the country have been suffering from similar issues and have managed to surmount them — because there is simply no other way to go during the pandemic. 

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