Phased resumption of physical classes at Jamia Millia Islamia from next month, after a two-year gap, has got the students exhilarated albeit perturbed over having to arrange accommodation given the hostels will not be available immediately after the campus reopens.
Following an improvement in the Covid situation, the university on Monday notified that physical classes for final-year postgraduate students will resume from March 2 and for final-year undergraduate students from mid-March. No decision has been taken about classes for intermediate years for UG and PG courses.
The restarting was being done in a phased manner taking into consideration the travel time of outstation students who require necessary preparation to reach Delhi. The administration, however, added the hostels will not open till COVID-19 protocols are in place."As of now, no date has been decided. Hostels are being renovated. It will take time," Jamia Millia Islamia proctor Waseem Khan told PTI.
Abdul Wahid Rahmani, a fourth-semester student, alleged the university "delayed" reopening of the campus and claimed the administration could have easily readied the hostels for students, but the "intention was lacking".
"If they wanted to provide hostel facilities, they could have done it easily. There is no intention to provide the facilities. "The hostel system in Jamia is very well organised and they had plenty of time to ready the rooms. They want to avoid the reopening as long as possible," he said.
Rahmani said several students have expressed concerns and are scrambling to arrange for their accommodation ahead of their arrival. "I have received calls from many students asking for temporary accommodation. Not everybody can afford to rent flats and spend over Rs 10,000 each month," he said.
Ladeeda Farzaba, a third-year BA Arabic student, said she was elated after the Jamia administration announced reopening the campus from early March. She used to stay in a hostel before the pandemic hit. But now, she is a new mother and has been seeking the help of friends to find suitable accommodation.
"I used to stay in a hostel. But I don't know what will happen now. It's going to be difficult but students wanted the university reopens so that is also good," Farzaba added.
The university's proctor Waseem Khan, however, claimed that a majority of the students don't avail hostel facilities."There are only a few thousand seats (in hostels) and once we implement Covid protocol, the number of seats available will be reduced to half. So I don't think that it is that big a problem," he said.
The university has announced that library and reading rooms will be opened from February 21. Ramees, a PhD scholar, was of the view that the university should have opened early and accused the administration of being "very laggard".
Most of the PhD students do not avail of hostel facilities and live near Jamia, he said, but agreed that graduate and postgraduate students will have to face difficulties if the hostels don't reopen soon.
"There have been a lot of protests over this in the last few days. Most of the universities have opened their campuses but Jamia only announced the reopening on Monday," he said.
With PTI inputs.