Mumbai: Offline lectures a distant dream

Following directions from the University of Mumbai (MU) to defer reopening of offline lectures till February 22, 2021, degree colleges and universities did not reopen campuses on Monday. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has denied permission to MU to reopen offline lectures in affiliated degree colleges and universities because it needs to analyse the spread of the Covid-19 infection as suburban train services have been resumed for the common people from February 1.

As per directions of the state higher and technical education department, degree colleges and universities were prepared to reopen offline lectures with 50 per cent attendance on a rotational basis from Monday. The MU released a notice stating, "Due to the direction given by the BMC, a decision regarding reopening of offline lectures in degree colleges and universities in Mumbai will be taken post February 22, 2021."

MU had written to the BMC seeking permission to reopen offline lectures from February 15. A senior officer of MU said, "The BMC is the local administrative authority which is analysing the ground situation and tracking the number of coronavirus positive cases in the city. We need a final nod from the BMC to reopen offline lectures."

In its letter to MU, the BMC stated, "As local train services have been resumed in Mumbai for the common people from February 1, we need to analyse the spread of the Covid-19 infection and the rise or fall in the number of cases. The decision regarding reopening of offline lectures in degree colleges and universities will be taken after February 22, 2021."

The degree colleges said they will continue to conduct online lectures and will focus on preparing for summer semester examination via online mode. The principal of a South Mumbai college said, "Offline lectures should be reopened once students and staff members are permitted to commute by suburban train services with relaxations in time slots. We will continue to conduct online lectures as summer semester exams will be conducted soon."

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