Whether it is one-on-one interactions with students to ensure their mental well-being or providing fees, internet data cards and laptops to those in need, University of Delhi Colleges are doing all they can to help students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colleges stepped up efforts after a student in RSL died by suicide, allegedly due to financial constraints, to continue her education.
According to Suman Sharma, principal of Lady Sri Ram College, the college administration announced a reduction in tuition fees for a few courses, set up a committee to provide laptops and allowed some sophomores to reside in youth hostels.
“Since students are unable to take advantage of certain college facilities due to their absence from campus, the college has removed these fees from fees this year. This has led to a substantial reduction in fees. In addition, it is possible to pay the costs in several installments, ”she said.
“Bearing in mind the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, current second year students on re-application and on the basis of need will be allowed to stay in the hostel after engagements for the first years at to come and the current third years, who are already in the hostel, have been met, ”he added.
Director of Miranda House Bijaylaxmi Nanda said the college is working to facilitate internet data packs for students whose burden has increased due to the relocation of online classes during the pandemic.
“We realized in the first month of lockdown alone that online courses alone will not be enough and that equal attention will need to be given to mental well-being. We have taken a few steps, but we will step up our efforts now and focus on one-on-one interactions, ”Nanda said. “We are exploring options to provide financial support to students not only in terms of fee waivers, but also to provide internet data cards to help with online courses,” she added.
The staff association of St Stephen’s College also contacted the director of the college, demanding the creation of a committee to reach out to students facing monetary problems.
“As we all know, the pandemic has caused great distress in society. Financial difficulties are heightened and some of our students face real difficulties in accessing online courses and paying fees, ”said staff association president Nandita Narain.
“Some faculty members have received requests from students for help with both paying fees and getting devices to attend online classes. We fear that there are many more students who have not yet contacted each other, ”she added.
According to Simrit Kaur, principal of Shri Ram College of Commerce, the college has been receiving applications for scholarships and laptops since the lockdown.
“There were a few students who had their own devices, but there were a few who needed help with laptops, we tried to provide each student with the kind of help they needed. We also provide round-the-clock counseling services to students so that if there is any issue, it can be resolved in a timely manner, ”Kaur said. Aishwarya, a student of Lady Sri Ram College (LSR) for Women and IAS aspirant, was found hanged at her Shadnagar home in Ranga Reddy district of Telangana on November 2.
In a suicide note purportedly written by her, the 19-year-old said she did not want to charge her parents with her education costs, police said.
The second-year BSc Mathematics (Honors) student returned to Telangana from Delhi in March, after college authorities asked those staying at the hostel to return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic . Colleges at the University of Delhi have been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all teaching and learning activities have been fully brought online since then.