Jadavpur University to provide handsets and data packages for students without smartphones
KOLKATA: Jadavpur University has officially decided to provide Android phones and data packages to students who do not have such facilities as new semester classes are due to start this month, an official said on Sunday. The JU also decided to hold a final examination in the field of art and science in contactless digital mode from October 1 to 10.

JU-Pro Vice Chancellor Chiranjib Bhattacharya announced on Sunday that students who do not have a smartphone or internet connection will shortly be making the cell phones and the data package available in the arts, science and technology.

“We will provide them with high quality kits that are compatible with network facilities, sharing, uploading and downloading options, and for those who need a good connectivity data package and need to be charged for three months,” said Bhattacharya.

However, he said the total number of these students was assessed by a university committee after the student association submitted their own poll number.

When asked how students who don’t have Android devices and poor internet connections can access classes since digital art and science classes are slated to start on Sept. 14, Bhattacharya said authorities plan to stop the process complete as early as possible.

The engineering semester courses are expected to begin on September 25th.

Bhattacharya was asked to explain the digital classroom mode and said it would be done on a virtual platform on Google.

In addition, audio and video clips of lectures and course content are uploaded to a secure, protected area on the university portal.

The department’s teachers can access the section and share the file links via PDF with the student who has an internet connection.

The students with a network connection will now share the content with those who have been deprived of the facilities.

Once they get the facilities, anyone can take courses and there will be no more digital divide.

The university will provide the handsets and network package from its own fund, raised from contributions from various sites including alumni and faculties.

The Pro-VC said the university decided on Friday to hold final exams in streams of art and science in non-contact, digital mode from October 1-10.

“Questions are emailed before the exams. Students must download the questions and answer them on paper within two hours. After two hours, they must send them back as an attachment,” he said.

Students are given additional time to consider network connectivity issues, but cannot be extended indefinitely.

“If a student has difficulty, they can call a hotline number provided before the exams,” he said.

The university decided to hold exams after the UGC agreed with the state’s higher education department to hold final exams in October, he said.


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