Published: 31st May 2021
Vaccinate students, extend funds and aid: SFI writes to Pokhriyal to help students during pandemic
SFI President VP Sanu said that the UGC might call online education a 'student centric' plan but it's not in favour of the students at all
The Students' Federation of India (SFI) wrote to the Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal urging the ministry to intervene and mitigate students' issues amid the pandemic. In a letter addressed to the Minister, SFI has highlighted issues ranging from financial aid and extension of fellowship to including students in the campus task forces and better medical facilities on campus.
For more than a year and a half, the academic activities have been hampered not just in India but across the world and the SFI said that it's high time that the ministry at least takes some steps to help the students. They urged the ministry to take care of nine odd issues that they highlighted —academic extension to all research scholars, including students in campus task forces, strengthening the medical facilities on campus and creation of isolation/quarantine facilities, speedy vaccination, special package for the families of marginalised students, financial assistance to all students (Nursery to PG), an extension of fellowship, fellowship to all research scholars and blended mode of teaching without proper Infrastructure.
SFI President VP Sanu said that the UGC might call online education a 'student centric' plan but it's not. "UGC has called it ‘student centric’ plan. However, it did not consider the infrastructural and socio-economic bottleneck that the Indian Higher education system is facing. First, the majority of public educational institutions do not have speciality labs to conduct these classes. No separate fund is allocated for the same. Second, students who come from a socially economically marginalised community will be the clear loser if it is going to be implemented as this will act like another glass ceiling for first-generation learners. Third, it will affect the autonomy of teachers and academic units as well," he said." Multiple reports have shown an increase in child labour and school and college dropout rates. To uphold the spirit of public education and to ensure access to education for all, we request the ministry to extend basic financial assistance for sustaining their education.," he added.
Educational campuses like the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have seen around 34 teachers succumb to COVID-19 and this is definitely causing concern, said SFI General Secretary Mayukh Biswas. "In other universities also the situation is not very different. Every day we are receiving news of the death of faculties, non-teaching staff and students due to COVID-19. This is a big blow to the future of academia. In this context, strengthening the basic health facilities at educational institutions becomes very important," he said and added that vaccination drives for educationist and students if of utmost importance. "We request the government to carve out a clear plan of centralised and free vaccination drive for all the members of educational institutions that include faculties, non-teaching and administrative staffs and students. This will help in the speedy reopening of educational institutions and help us to bring educational institutions back to normalcy," he added.