The year of the pandemic: The year lecture halls came home in Ludhiana
The year 2020 saw institutes of higher education take lecture halls to students’ homes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with authorities switching to zoom classes, holding virtual counselling and arranging for online exams.
However, the journey was not without hiccups with a section of students facing trouble accessing online classes in the absence of smartphones and laptops and shaky internet connections. College authorities also received a poor response from students during the online registration process for undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Financial difficulties caused due to the pandemic sadly forced many students to drop out.
June saw colleges reopen for staff. However, two lecturers tested positive in different institutions soon after, forcing one of the institutions to shut down as a precautionary measure. Hostels have also remained closed since the lockdown and the facility has not been offered to freshers.
Regular classes were started for final year students in November, however, poor attendence was recorded in most government and private institutions. Teachers were seen taking physical and online class simultaneously with the help of laptops at government colleges. Many private colleges continued with online classes as Covid cases were surging in the district. As per directions from varsities, college authorities got their staff and students tested for Covid before reopening.
Though it remains uncertain when students will start attending regular classes, the new building government college building in Ludhiana east will be completed by February.
In July, authorities had decided to defer the Panjab University Youth and Heritage Festival amid surging Covid cases. The festival will now be held in November
However, in November, it was decided the festival will be conducted in February 2021 after the final exams. Only solo performances and participation will be allowed in all contests be it music or fine arts.
Students clinched top positions at PU
Final-year students from different Ludhiana-based colleges bagged the top positions in Panjab University (PU). Palak Dewan of Sri Aurbindo College of Commerce, a bachelor of commerce student, topped the varsity with 3,254 out of 3,700 marks. Another student of the same college, Nikita Jain, secured 2,925 out of 3,400, topping PU in the bachelor of business administration course. Anchal Bhardwaj of Arya College, girls section, secured the first position in humanities. She secured a near-perfect 2,101 out of 2,400.
Girls extend a helping hand to Covid warriors
In a bid to help those on the frontline in the battle against Covid, girls studying at Industrial Training Institutes stitched four-layered washable masks from their houses. The masks were distributed among workers of the district administration, healthcare workers, municipal corporation employees, police, asha and anganwadi workers, panchayats, farmers, migrant labourers.
Virtual job fair
With shortage of workers almost bringing industries to a standstill, the Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Gill Road, organised a virtual fair to augment the manpower shortage.
Few enrolments in rural areas
Colleges affiliated to Panjab University (PU) report more vacant seats than any other year. Though the varsity extended the last date of admission to August 31 to give more time to students to enrol themselves in undergraduate courses, authorities said the situation hardly improved. Students desirous of studying in government colleges, which already have a low fee structure,have requested authorities to collect fee in instalments. Despite concessions, the seats remain vacant.
Unfinished government college building
Almost three years after laying the foundation stone of the new building at Government College, Ludhiana (East), around 20% construction work still remains pending. The building stands opposite Vardhman Mill on Chandigarh Road. Construction work had been delayed due to the pandemic. In June, work came to a halt due to paucity of funds. Work on a multi-purpose hall, canteen, and landscaping will be completed over the next three months.
Colleges discontinue PG courses
Five private colleges, affiliated to Panjab University, have stopped offering postgraduate courses for this academic session due to few takers. College principals said due to financial constraints amid the pandemic, many students have not applied for masters courses this year. Courses such as masters in Punjabi and Hindi and postgraduate diploma in computer applications seem to be losing their sheen. Students are opting to pursue masters in business administration, masters in commerce and other skill-based courses.