In a meeting with Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Thursday, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) are learnt to have requested the government to expedite vaccination of their students to facilitate their return to the campus.
According to sources, the IITs urged the government to step in and help vaccinate their students on priority, as state governments have been unable to procure enough vaccines for those in the 18-44 age group. Many IITs still have students living on campus.
In April, an IIT-Delhi internal survey of 3,910 students found that 22 percent had tested positive for Covid-19 between March and April, and 61 percent said at least one family member had tested positive. IIT-Delhi authorities had relaxed norms, including that of attendance and deadlines, after the findings of the survey.
In April, after 60 students tested positive, IIT-Roorkee sealed five hostels. In March, 65 IIT-Jodhpur students had tested positive, prompting the authorities to declare its G 3 block a containment zone. Ten cases were reported from IIT-Bhubaneswar the same month.
In December last year, a major outbreak at IIT-Madras saw 71 cases, of whom 66 were students.
The cases being reported was discussed at a meeting of IITs, NITs, IISc and IISERs called by the Education Ministry on Thursday to discuss online classes and implementation of the new National Education Policy.
The IITs are learnt to have asked the government for a year’s extension for scholarship for PhD students, as they have lost time due to the lockdown. Besides IITs, directors of IISc, IIITs, IISERs and NITs took part in the meeting through video-conferencing.
The status of online classes and virtual laboratory courses was also reviewed by the minister.
Directors of various institutes informed Pokhriyal that online teaching was started with the initial lockdown in March 2020. Some institutions have also developed their own app for online teaching and evaluation, Pokhriyal was told.