University of Hyderabad embarks on phased return of PG students – Times of India


HYDERABAD: The University of Hyderabad (UoH) has embarked on a phased return to ‘in-person’ classes for postgraduate students.

Vice Chancellor P. Appa Rao on Tuesday approved the Task Force recommendation to permit about 148 terminal semester students of the science schools and S.N. School to return to the campus for completion of laboratory/practice courses that have either been left incomplete from the last semester or have been postponed to the final semester.

The list of students to return was identified by the respective academic units.

The Task Force, headed by Prof Vinod Pavarala, has been carefully monitoring the current state of prevalence of Covid-19 (including the new variant) and the potential roll-out of vaccination and also following the unlock guidelines, being issued from time to time by the Central and Telangana governments.

Taking into consideration the risk of the outbreak of pandemic on campus, limited facilities for quarantine/isolation of students, and UGC guidelines on hostel accommodation, the Task Force has planned for a gradual/phased return of students to the campus.

The university has already enabled the return to the campus of over 320 research scholars (M.Phil, and Ph.D.) across various schools of study to enable them to carry out experimental work as well as timely submission of their theses. A full semester was also completed online successfully for the ongoing batch of Masters’ students and the first semester classes were also initiated online.

In this latest phase announced Tuesday, the Task Force considered the requirements of academic units that have laboratory/practice components that need to be completed before students graduate in June 2021 and have prioritised the return of about 148 students.

This is the beginning of a gradual process hope that will continue through the next couple of months. As the situation with Covid-19 starts improving and the government issues guidelines for further unlocking of higher education activities, the University of Hyderabad hopes to facilitate the return of most students to normal academic work.

The Vice Chancellor has requested the faculty, Staff and students in the social sciences, economics, humanities, management, and S.N. School to view this as a process, whereby all are compelled to prioritise the immediate needs of some students over others.

“It is not that university administration does not understand the enormous difficulties that students across disciplines are facing with online classes. It is widely recognised that in the Indian context, there is no satisfactory substitute for classroom teaching and that virtual classes are only a last resort,” he said.

UoH has tried to ease some of the problems by facilitating remote access to digital library resources and putting in place a digital access grant for needy students. Elaborate teaching and evaluation guidelines have been framed to suit the current situation. Training has been offered to teachers for effective online teaching, and a learning management system has been put in place. Few central universities in the country have been able to do as much to restart academic activities during this period of crisis.

For now, all theory classes, including for those who are being permitted to return to the campus for practical inputs, will continue online.

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