Sikkim University 4th sem Students unhappy over decision of Physical classes from June 13

Sikkim University 4th sem Students unhappy over decision of Physical classes from June 13

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Sikkim University, Sikkim's only Central university, had finally agreed to open the university for physical classes for the fourth (PG) and sixth (UG) semesters after a two-year hiatus following the Covid pandemic. On June 3, the university published a notification indicating that from June 13, all students in terminal semesters, i.e. fourth (PG) and sixth (UG), will attend offline classes in their respective departments and will have offline examinations with pen and paper.

Students in the fourth semester have been requesting online classes since the letter was sent out, citing numerous reasons for their dissatisfaction with the decision.

A letter seeking continuation of the ongoing manner of online lessons and online tests for final (fourth) semester students was sent to the Vice Chancellor shortly after, detailing the concerns, but "no reaction has been sent by the University officials," according to the students.

296 PG students in the Departments of History, Education, English, Peace and Conflict Studies and Management, Sociology, International Relations, Political Science, Nepali, Economics, Mass Communication, Mathematics, Microbiology, Anthropology, Chinese, Psychology, Hindi, Music, Travel and Tourism, and Computer Applications, as well as 35 UG students in the Departments of Chinese and Geology, have signed the letter.

According to the letter, fourth-semester students have a month to write their dissertations, and "...completing the dissertation with less than 30 days in hand won't be viable..." The letter also states that the students must begin seeking for housing for which they would require financial assistance.

“…most rental houses in Sikkim ask six months in advance to provide the rental agreement, whereas we have only 45 working days left to complete our masters... Our university is unable to provide hostel facility to its students as per UGC guidelines and so, they are trying to put the burden of rent house finding and all on us only and when we are informing the faculties regarding our difficulties, they are saying that university has taken the decision in favour of students only. What kind of favour is it? Putting burden on its students. In this case, the university must take responsibility to arrange accommodation for each and every student, so that we can concentrate on our dissertation work, NET preparation, semester examination preparation etc.,” the letter reads.

“As most of the students are from the Northeast, there are only around 4-5 residential students in each department. Due to the ongoing tourist season, there is no chance for us to get railway tickets and we have to board the flight and the airfares are too high for us students. Looking for accommodation for two months in Gangtok is a tremendous burden for us, which we don’t want to entertain at any cost now,” said one student from Assam on June 4. 

Most students had gone to the university for offline studies at the start of the fourth semester, but online classes were being offered at the time, so the students had to pack their belongings and return to their home states/cities. The university has now opted to hold offline classes, according to the student.

The letter goes on to say that the students choose their NET examination centre based on their current location, which is close to their hometown, and that the university's sudden opening would make it difficult for students to travel from their hometown to Gangtok, Gangtok to their NET examination centres, and back here for the offline classes. "...our dissertation work, semester examination preparation, and NET examination preparation will all be hampered...," the letter states.

Many universities, including JNU and other State universities, are holding PhD entrance exams in June or July, according to the students, because the universities are planning to finish their Masters' degree programmes before the entrance examination. Sikkim University, on the other hand, has prolonged the Masters' programme until August. Students have indicated that if they live in Gangtok and begin taking online lectures, it will be impossible for them to sit for the entrance tests.

“…This SUSA is passing the university’s order to us; they are not conveying the students’ problems to the universities. So, how can SUSA’s decision be the collective decision of the students of the final semester?”

“We had a meeting with the SUSA caretaker executive president over Zoom meeting, the president stated that one section of the students want physical classes but when we asked him about the percentage, he was speechless,” informed a student.

Other criteria mentioned in the letter include internships in their hometowns.

The students have also questioned the authority stating “…If offline classes and exams are to be conducted, we were supposed to be called by the university administration in the beginning of the semester only. Now the semester is about to be completed and we will get only 35 days of offline classes. Most of our syllabus has been taught online, therefore it would be very difficult and an unnecessary pressure for us to quickly get adjusted and have offline exams of the huge syllabus after a huge long gap of 2 years; in a short duration of 1.5 months…”

The students also reported that they approached their individual faculties, but received no response or cooperation.

“…we are not taking this opportunity as an escape-gate by sharing our inconveniences to attend offline classes all of a sudden in the middle of a semester. It’s problematic for many of us to come in Gangtok and to attend offline class now. Majority of the students i.e., more 70% of the students have signed hereby in support of online class. We are letting you know that we stand with online classes for now and we feel convenient to continue with the online mode only for the remaining 45 days to complete our Post Graduation. So, hereby we would like to request you to keep the online mode of delivering lectures for the rest of days in our fourth semester; we all shall remain thankful to you...,” the letter concludes.


Edited By: Admin
Published On: Jun 07, 2022