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The University of Hyderabad on Thursday decided to resume classes in online mode for about 2,000 post-graduate students of various academic courses with effect from August 20, 2020.

The university had suspended classes for all batches on March 15 and has completed the evaluation process of final semester students, allowing them to graduate. The University of Hyderabad had set up a Task Force, headed by senior professor and former dean of the Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication, Vinod Pavarala, who held wide-ranging consultations with various stakeholders, including students and faculty members, and received a number of suggestions by email on the resumption of academic activities.

Based on projections about the continuing effect of Covid-19 pandemic and assessment of public health risks involved in holding physical, face-to-face classes on the campus, the Task Force has recommended that the University start online teaching in a couple of weeks.

The recommendations were discussed and approved on August 6 at a meeting of the Heads of Departments and Deans of Schools convened by the Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor has reiterated the university’s resolve to deliver high-quality education to thousands of students on their campus.

In view of the difficulties that some students are likely to face with costs of connectivity, the University has also accepted the recommendation of the Task Force to re-purpose the existing BBL (boarding allowance) scholarship of Rs 1,000 a month into a Digital Access Grant (DAG) to students from deprived backgrounds. The Vice-Chancellor has also announced the university’s plan to shore up ICT infrastructure at the department-level or at the level of individual faculty members to enable them to effectively deliver online teaching.

However, the student’s union opposed the plan of online classes as all the students may not have access to the internet and other infrastructure. “The Task Force which was set up to solve this issue conducted an online survey which showed 80% of the students are okay with the online classes but what about that 20% of students who will face the brunt of being underprivileged. Shall we ignore them?  That cannot happen so the student union opposes the decision to conduct the classes online,” added Gopi Swamy, Student Union 2019-20, general secretary.

The university had earlier initiated a process, based on the Task Force recommendations, to permit the phased return of research scholars from Science Schools, initially allowing only day scholars in Hyderabad who are in advanced stages of their experimental work in ‘wet’ labs and in projects with tight deadlines.

Semester registration for all M. Phil and PhD students is in progress, with the general advice to continue to work from their homes until further notice, except where special permissions have been granted as in the Science Schools, said the press release.
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