Over 4000 DU students protest digitally to reopen campus
From increased screen time and consequent headaches to problematic wifi connections, students of Delhi University aren’t enjoying the #digitalcampuslife. It’s been almost a year since DU shifted to the online mode for teaching and learning, however, students are still having a tough time with regard to online classes, and more than four thousand DU students are protesting digitally by signing a petition to open colleges. “We are organising digital protests. Thousands of students are participating in twitter storms and have signed an online petition for reopening of campus. We will be sending this petition to our VC. There are multiple student protest groups formed on Whatsapp where we coordinate our protests. Some of us make meme pages and post memes asking for colleges to reopen, others make reels on the issues faced in online classes and the rest of us tweet tagging the authorities,” shares Pranshu Nain, of Ramjas College.
The digital petition to reopen campus is spammed with comments after comments by students enlisting reasons as to why they are demanding the campus re-opens. “The digital divide is steep. Many of my friends in Kashmir weren’t even able to attend most of their online classes because of wifi problems. Some of my classmates living in villages don’t get steady electricity connection, what to say of wifi. Teachers aren’t able to explain the concept properly because if you get a bad connection in between you have an audio and video lapse. There is limited interaction in classes. Even extra curricular activities have become digital. The confidence and exposure students get from physical interaction with the faculty, seniors and friends is stumped,” says Aatika Choudhary of Vivekananda College.
The current student life is rampant with digital fests, online freshers and online exams and handling everything virtually is taking a toll on students who have been reaching out to their seniors for help. “Scores of students reach out to me daily with their problems. They cry on the phone and are mentally anguished. Students are so worried about their future. The digital campus is no longer working. Sports, dramatics, workshops - all of these were a very important aspect of personality development for students and there’s nothing happening to make up for that. The university isn’t well equipped with handling the online shift. It’s been a year and the exam portal still crashes while students submit their answers while attempting Open Book Examinations,” says Shubham Chaudhary, Executive Councillor, Delhi University Student Union.
The authorities of DU claim that they are trying their best to help the students but safety comes first. “No plans of re-opening campus as of now. Covid-19 cases have increased. MHA guidelines and government advisories suggest restrictions and precautions. So we will have to wait and watch. We are with the students and are trying to help them to the best of our capabilities. We are also trying to ensure that all colleges make study material available on their website,” says Rajeev Gupta, Dean Students’ Welfare, Delhi University.
But what do the authorities suggest to combat problems of weak internet connection that hampers the study session of students? “Difficult to suggest any amicable solution regarding wifi problems faced by students because they are currently spread over the country and not residing in a student hostel where we could provide all of them with a speedy connection. However, once the entire study material is available online, things will get smoother for the students. Students are welcome to reach out to us and we will help them in whatever way we can,” says Gupta.
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha