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Students’ welfare top priority: WB Governor

Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday said he has held “informal talks” with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the problems faced by the students of higher education institutes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed that efforts are being made to address their concerns.

Asserting that welfare of students will always be his top priority, Dhankhar, who is also the chancellor of state universities, said the higher education secretary will visit him during the day to hold a discussion on the matter.

“I have held informal talks with the CM on the problems faced by the students… After my meeting with the vice chancellors of different state universities on July 15, we will jointly take up the matter with the UGC. Students are very close to my heart,” he tweeted.

Dhankhar had earlier written to the CM, seeking her “effective participation in July 15 virtual conference with VCs for speedy resolution of outstanding student issues”.

“Present stressful scenario has impacted our student community as never before…With a view to address student concerns, I have found it expedient to have virtual conference with VCs/pro VCs of all state-aided universities on July 15. It will be desirable in public interest that there is effective participation of the state government in the process,” he wrote in the letter, sent a day ago.

“In togetherness, we may engage with the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Union Minister for Human Resource Development,” the governor had stated in the letter, a copy of which was attached with the tweet.

He, however, did not specify the issues that he wanted to take up with the UGC and the HRD.

Notably, the Bengal government had on July 9 sent a letter to the HRD ministry, urging it to re-examine its advisory to universities, mandating final-year exams by September-end.

With the current trend of rise in COVID-19 cases since April “we are not sure whether the situation will be conducive for conducting offline examinations,” the higher education department said in the letter.

As a vast section of students is still deprived of Internet connectivity, it will also not be appropriate to hold online exams, the department had reasoned.

Academic activities on college and university campuses have remained suspended since March 16 in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

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