How Jadavpur University, St. Xavier’s University, Bhawanipur Education Society College, IEM and Delhi University are stepping up to the plate
Colleges and universities across the country have come forward to help with Covid care and assist students who may need financial aid to continue their studies. From setting up safe homes to launching scholarships, educational institutions are doing their bit to flatten the curve.
Jadavpur Commune -- a group comprising students, alumni and research scholars of Jadavpur University -- has turned the university’s main hostel building into a safe home for asymptomatic Covid patients.
The facility is equipped with nurses, students and volunteers who look after these patients who do not require immediate medical assistance. “Students and ex-students of Jadavpur University have worked tirelessly for a month to make this safe home initiative a reality,” said Sinjini Sarkar, a third-year undergraduate student of Comparative Literature and a member of Jadavpur Commune.
Jadavpur Commune has teamed up with the Jadavpur University Research Scholars and Ex-Students Organisation (JUEx) to set up Oxygen On Wheels, an ambulance that will provide oxygen to patients in need around Kolkata.
The university has joined hands with Judge Bagan Recreational Unit Club and youth-led social initiative Eksathe Bachbo to open an interim Covid care centre in Haridevpur, where basic facilities like oxygen will be provided to patients while they wait for confirmed beds in hospitals.
“Even if a single person survives with our Covid care initiative, it is an achievement for all of us. As Jadavpur University alumni, we have this sense of responsibility, and so do our juniors,” said JU alumnus Arnab Jana about the initiative.
St. Xavier’s University
St Xavier’s University (SXU), Newtown, has set up 40 beds for Covid patients in a 3,000sq ft space in their library block, in collaboration with Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI). Father Felix Raj, the vice-chancellor of SXU, has proposed to set up Covid care units at St. Xavier’s College, Asansol, and a quarantine centre on the South 24-Parganas campus of St. Xavier’s College.
“Our initiative to start a safe home-cum-isolation centre is a humanitarian endeavour that has been appreciated by all. We have had support and collaboration from government authorities, especially North 24-Parganas district officials, and medical assistance from CNCI. Many students and faculty have volunteered to offer their services, though we have discouraged them due to Covid protocols. Within a month, 142 patients have benefitted from our centre and have gone home happily,” said Father Felix Raj.
The Bhawanipur Education Society College
The Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) announced an academic fee waiver for students who have lost a parent to Covid. The college will continue to support the students in their higher studies even after completing their current course.
“With the impact of the second wave and the number of deaths, we started talking about families that had lost their bread-earners. This prompted our board to get together and formulate an unconditional policy, under which students who have lost their bread-earning parents would be welcome to study with us for free, from the school-level to the postgraduate-level. If the child wants to opt for this provision, we will provide it irrespective of their financial background,” said BESC vice-chairman Miraj Shah.
The Institute of Engineering and Management (IEM)
The Institute of Engineering and Management is offering scholarships to students and alumni who have lost a loved one to Covid or any terminal illness and/or are facing financial distress. Students or alumni can write to the authorities with supporting documents. Applicants will need to sit for an interview with a committee of 50 alumni to get through. The college administration has received about 80 applications. Thirty students and three alumni have already received scholarships.
“Our college has always been empathetic towards its students and alumni. Keeping in mind the plight of some students during the pandemic, I discussed the viability of such an initiative with the president and chairman of the institute. Within no time, the initiative was on ground,” said Sanghamitra Poddar, dean, Student Affairs and Alumni Relations at the institute.
The University of Delhi
The University of Delhi has set up a Covid-19 care portal (http://www.du.ac.in/uploads/COVIDCARE/index.html) with helpline numbers for food supplies, oxygen, ambulances, vaccinations and even tele-counselling for post-Covid trauma. The portal includes the Delhi University Teachers’ Welfare Fund (DUTWF) to collect money for essential supplies for teachers during the pandemic.
The varsity is also distributing medicines and food to citizens below the poverty line. Some of its affiliated colleges, like Hansraj College and Janki Devi Memorial College, have secured oxygen cylinders and concentrators to help patients with low oxygen levels. There are plans to set up Covid care facilities in more colleges.
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