Over 2,000 students have returned to the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay) campus after 10 months of lockdown on a voluntary basis. Also, over 760 students of the institute, who returned to their homes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, have been provided with laptops for free in order to help them pursue their academic learning via online mode.
The institute has reopened its campus for students in three categories on a voluntary basis. Subhasis Chaudhuri, director of IIT Bombay said, "The institute has given first priority to those students who have a need for lab for research and other purposes, second, for those students who are in their final year and want to spend time working and lastly for those who are facing technical difficulties in pursuing virtual education such as no internet network or electric power failure in remote areas. Students can return to campus on a voluntary basis."
Social distancing, sanitisation and precautionary measures are being maintained on campus, said a professor of IIT Bombay. The professor said, "We are catering to students via virtual classes where students need not feel the need to return to campus. Regular body temperature checks, use of masks and hand sanitisers is being practised on campus."
In order to help students of economically less privileged families, the institute has donated 760 laptops and other technical support. Chaudhuri said, "We collected around Rs 4 crore via donations. We helped students who approached us with their difficulty in pursuing academic classes via online mode. We have also helped first year students with IT hardware support such as laptops, computers, internet and broadband connectivity to access online classes."
Students were given an interest free loan depending on their need to buy a laptop or any other technical hardware required for online classes. Chaudhuri said, "Students had to buy the necessary hardware and then provide the receipt or bill to the institute after which, the money was transferred to their account. In some cases, we gave some funds to students upfront to buy necessary equipment. Students had to write a thank you letter to their donor."
In June 2020, IIT Bombay had decided to take its classes online for the entire academic year, giving physical, on-campus attendance the bunk.