Recently Manipal’s MIT was in the news for all the missteps of its administration. Another such case of apathy emerged in Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, a private institution which just like Manipal was accorded IoE status by the government. On June 2, students and faculties received a rude shock and glimpse of the sheer amount of apathy and insensitivity of the management towards them.
The institute had initially planned for the Winter Semester to resume from June 1, via online mode. None of the concerns raised by students living along the Eastern coast of India, regarding the detrimental effect of cyclone Amphan on network connectivity, was taken into account. Nevertheless, the college decided to ignore the fact that a lot of its students come from tier-2 towns and are from lower-middle-class or lower-income groups, who can’t afford stable 4G networks for video-based tutorials.
However, students and faculty alike were in for a shock when the management abruptly decided to end the semester on June 8, effectively asking the teaching staff to complete all internal assessments on or before the 8th. This effectively reduced the number of working days to just 5 days, while making sure workload of over a month remains the same!
At first, everyone thought that the Registrar had simply made a small typographical error while writing the date. As it became clear that this was an official management decision panic spread quickly.
Students and faculties were bewildered, scratching heads as to how assessments (quizzes, project reviews, assignments, lab assessments, etc) would be uploaded in a span of 3-4 working days. Faculties, however, decided to keep mum and instead pass the load onto students. Students had no one to go to. All concerns raised by parents too were ignored.
It was mismanagement of epic proportions. Students had left the campus in a hurry after summer vacations were declared with a few hour’s notice. As a result lab records, notebooks, project components, and more lay in their hostel rooms. With the lockdown in place, students struggled to arrange stationery and project components to complete with reviews.
Faculties decided to have no mercy and declared quizzes without any substantial notice. Students were expected to write multiple quizzes, assignments, redo all lab records, projects, attend reviews, and all the while also pay attention in classes being held via online mode!
Often students saw that their teachers delayed uploading questions, leaving students with very little time till the due dates. Quiz timings clashed, students lost sleep preparing for assessments and writing their assignments. Still, the university was unmoved. The so-called ‘Student Welfare’ department ironically kept sending emails regarding ‘psychological’ counselling and a ‘stress-free’ life.
Several students fell ill due to a lack of sleep and extreme stress levels. Students experienced nausea, vomiting, and panic attacks due to the decision of incompetent management and insensitive faculties. With all this, students were again left fending for their own. The Chancellor, who allegedly enjoys good patronage in the political circles, despite controversies related to VIT, and also supposedly heads various organisations close to the government of Tamil Nadu and other independent bodies, was nowhere to be seen. The management, known in the past to be sexist, now proved to be incompetent and insensitive too.