Offline reopening of colleges in Maharashtra: 2 days left, no clarity on train timing for students

Mumbai: With just two days left for reopening of degree colleges and universities, the state government has not provided any clarity on resumption of suburban train services for students, professors and non-teaching staff with time relaxations. In addition, degree colleges have written to local administrative authorities to provide guidelines on action plan for reopening of offline lectures.

The state higher and technical education department has directed all degree colleges and universities to reopen offline lectures from February 15, 2021 with 50 per cent attendance on a rotational basis. But degree colleges have questioned how are they supposed to conduct lectures if students, teaching and non-teaching staff are not permitted to commute by suburban train services between 7 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm.

Ashok Wadia, principal of Jai Hind College, Churchgate, said, "Our teaching and non-teaching staff approached the railway office at Churchgate railway station to enquire about monthly pass to commute by local trains. But they were directed to go to the office at Bombay Central railway station where they were not issued a monthly pass. How will teaching and non-teaching staff commute to college if they are not allowed to travel during peak hours?"

Some degree colleges have written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) informing them about reopening of offline lectures, seeking standard operating procedures (SOP) guidelines and permission. Neha Jagtiani, in-charge principal of RD National College, Bandra said, "I have written a letter to BMC, as it is the competent local administrative authority, informing that we will reopen offline lectures in a phased manner. I have also sought permission and SOP guidelines for the same but there has been no response from the BMC."

Jagtiani added, "We will reopen offline lectures in a phased manner. In the first week, we will call students of final year only for practicals in batches. We will call students of final year of other programmes for regular lectures on one day per week. After analysing the response, we will call students of first and second year programmes in the second or third week."

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