Days after reopening, DU footfall still low

DU opened its colleges on September 16 for laboratory and practical work for final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students, who can also attend these offline.

Five days after the Delhi University (DU) opened its colleges for practical classes, attendance continues to remain quite low, with many students — most of whom are from outside Delhi — choosing to wait and watch for now.

DU opened its colleges on September 16 for laboratory and practical work for final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students, who can also attend these offline. In the phased reopening, the rooms are to be used only at 50 per cent capacity and all theory classes will continue completely online.

While the footfall was very low on the first day, there were some expectations that the numbers would increase. However, across colleges, there are very few students returning for now.

“There are not many students turning up. Percentage wise it’s a low number, but today for example around 80 students had come. They are turning up for labs and tutorials, but the number is low. It seems most students are not interested in coming back. There are apprehensions that there may be a third wave, and as of now the students who are coming also have mostly just got one dose of the vaccination. We have only local students, the outstation students are not really coming,” said Hansraj College principal Rama.

Hindu College principal Anju Srivastava also said there were around 10 to 12 students in the science subjects who were coming to college but the number was low. “We have just opened for practicals, not for theory. So to come down to college for practicals and then rush back for theory classes must be a logistical issue. Plus accommodation is also a problem and parents are also not very keen on sending their children with the possibility of a third wave,” she said.

Daulat Ram College principal Savita Roy said just about 30% students were coming to college for lab work. “Not many students are keen due to various reasons, especially as theory classes are still online. However, in one specific course, B Sc Life Sciences, many students wrote to me saying they would like to come. So for them, we have drawn up a schedule and we will open the college for one month and see how the experiment goes,” she said.

For students, especially those living outside Delhi, coming to campus for practical classes does not seem like a feasible solution. Aarushi Sharma, a final-year Computer Science student at Miranda House, said she had gone to college only once. “I’m living in Delhi , so I went, but most of my classmates are not coming. Out of 60, around 8-10 people are coming. Parents don’t want to spend money on sending their students to Delhi just to attend practicals. Also the living cost is too much. They will come once physical classes begin,” she said.

DU Registrar Vikas Gupta, however, said the university had not yet planned the second phase of re-opening. “We will think of it when there are any further DDMA guidelines,” he said.

Meanwhile, several major student groups of Jamia Millia Islamia like All India Students’ Association, Campus Front of India, Students’ Islamic Organisation, Students’ Federation of India and others have demanded that the campus reopen at the earliest.

A senior official had earlier told The Indian Express that Jamia would wait for directions from the UGC before taking a decision to re-open since it’s a central university.

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