Coronavirus pandemic

Uncertainty looms over university students

University students are going to face serious session jam as all educational institutions remain shut for an indefinite period of time due to coronavirus pandemic.

Although some private universities are offering online classes, most of the public universities are yet to introduce such classes due to various complications.

Country’s educational activities from primary to tertiary level have come to a standstill since March to thwart the spread of virus.
Now, the closure looks set to delay for long as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday hinted that the educational institutions might remain closed till September if the Covid-19 situation remains unchanged.

This unprecedented delay has caused uncertainty for over 40 lakh students studying in private, public and its affiliated institutions in the country.

In this situation, experts and university students expressed their fear about prolonged session jam and other academic casualties for this situation. Professor of Institute of Education and Research (IER) of Dhaka University Dr Mohammad Ali Zinnah told Bangladesh Post, “It is not possible to take examination without completing the course. Though some private universities are offering online class, but it is not practical in public universities. Most of the public university students are not familiar with online class or they do not have this opportunity. There is no alternative to formal education here.”

He also said, “Most of the universities take semester based class. If the universities remain shut until September, students may suffer at least five to six months session jam.”

Relying to a query, Dr Zinnah said, “We have to give importance to life than education. We have nothing to do now.”
To reduce the session jam, he suggested taking extra classes after opening the universities.

Shamim Fatema, a fourth-year student of Chittagong University, said “Other universities have opted for online based system to continue their academic activities but still our university has taken no steps regarding this decision. If this situation continues, we have to face session jam and our study will be hampered.” University should immediately continue academic activities through online, she opined.

Anik Ahmed, a fourth-year student of sociology department of Dhaka University said, “I am worried about the situation. We don’t know how long the present coronavirus situation will last. We are going to face serious session jam. Authority should immediately take steps to overcome it.”

Even though the university campus is shut, some public and private university students have been asked to take part in routine classes from their homes so that their study is not hampered.

“When other universities are continuing with their academic activities in this pandemic situation, DU authority is yet to take any decision to prevent session jam and academic casualties,” another student of Dhaka University said.

Mehedi, a third-year student of statistics department of Chittagong University said, “At least faculty should provide us with some assignments and reading materials to study. It will reduce extra pressure after this uncertain vacation.”
If the University remains shut until September, we have to face at least one year session jam, he added.

Contacted, Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman told Bangladesh Post, “We are thinking the possibility of conducting classes via internet. Most of the departments are able to offer online based class system.”

He also said, “All the departments are not ready yet. We will take a decision immediately,”
Over 40 lakh students currently study in public universities and their affiliated institutions and over 3.5 lakh students at 105 private universities in Bangladesh.

On March 16, the government announced the closure of all educational institutions till March 31 and asked all students to stay at home to control the spread of the pandemic.
Then, the Education Ministry further extended the closure till April 9, then April 25 and lastly May 5.