The year 2020 has been very different and difficult for the world. With the COVID-19 pandemic creating havoc across nations, paradigm shifts in structure and operations have taken place in almost all critical sectors. Education is no exception. Closure of educational institutions has compelled the education system to quickly devise and apply new methods and modes of teaching-learning. The shift from the conventional modes of classroom teaching to online teaching-learning process was challenging. However, the Government of West Bengal, the Higher Education Department and the State Council of Higher Education had put in all efforts to adjust to the new system of teaching-learning. The faculty members, the students and the administrators across the state had put in their relentless efforts to keep quality education available to all, despite odds. Several training programs and webinars were conducted in the HEIs to apprise all stakeholders of the new techniques and methodologies.
The switch to the new arrangement has opened up several vistas of opportunities. The teaching community whole-heartedly came forward to update themselves on the technological frontiers and successfully overcame the technological barriers to effectively commence the online education process. The students also adapted quickly to the new teaching-learning and examination arrangements. The teachers shared screens, presentations and study materials through various digital platforms. Despite few technical glitches and minor difficulties, the online education in West Bengal succeeded in upholding quality teaching-learning throughout 2020.
The Higher Education Department has undertaken all necessary standard protocol measures and has circulated directives to all HEIs. During the last one year the West Bengal State Council of Higher Education and the Higher Education Department conducted several online meetings with Vice Chancellors of State Aided Universities, Private Universities and officials from the Higher Education Department, under the guidance and Chairmanship of Hon'ble Minister-in-Charge, Higher Education Department and issued guidelines strictly adhering to the UGC directives/guidelines in this regard. Universities and colleges in the State after ensuring that most of the students could be connected through virtual modes took some innovative actions in order to arrange proper online teaching learning for the students. WBSCHE has been very vigilant in this manner and collected reports from HEIs regarding online teaching-learning in 2020.
|A snapshot of the same is as follows:|
|The students attended online lectures/tutorials/Extension lectures during this period through various digital platforms.|
|Online classes were conducted through virtual mode.|
|Group mails of the students have been created for the circulation of study materials, notes, illustrations, references, audio clips etc. among the students.|
|Webinars on topics related to the syllabus have been held in most of the colleges and universities.|
|A good amount of E-materials and E-content has been developed by faculty members of different disciplines across the state for all students and teachers.|
|Submission of assignments for evaluation of answer scripts (Undergraduate and Post Graduate) was done online.|
|Majority of the students in all the universities maintained satisfactory levels of attendance.|
|Student feedback taken by HEIs on the system was found to be satisfactory.|
In the last one-year State Council of Higher Education collected extensive feedback from universities and colleges on the functioning of the institutions and particularly on the pro-student steps taken by the universities and colleges during this period. The State Council of Higher Education under the Chairmanship of the HMIC decided and the Higher Education Department, Government of West Bengal requested the universities to waive fees for admission, examination, tuition etc. for all the students during this period of crisis and economic downturn.
The unforeseen challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a significant toll on the world across countries. Governments are taking necessary measures to combat the situation and the Government of West Bengal has been very prompt and vigilant in taking all necessary actions. The State government has undertaken all necessary standard protocol measures and has circulated directives to all Government offices and Government premises to maintain the protocols. In this backdrop, active measures have been undertaken and by the West Bengal State Council of Higher Education (WBSCHE) as follows:
|The State government has undertaken all necessary standard protocol measures and has circulated directives to all Government offices and Government premises to maintain the protocols. In this backdrop, active measures have been undertaken and by the West Bengal State Council of Higher Education (WBSCHE) as follows:|
|Ensuring lockdown of Council office in keeping with the Government directives and continuance of carrying on activities of the Council by its employees from their respective homes as far as possible.|
|Upon resuming of office after lifting of lockdown by the Government, attendance as per Roster system.|
|Regular sanitization of office premises.|
|Supply of mask, cap and sanitizers to the employees free of cost.|
|Arranging and conducting Vaccination program for its employees.|
|Providing of office vehicle for smooth commute of the employees.|
|Checking of temperature, hand and body sanitization to all employees and visitors while entry into premises|