In a first, IIT-Bombay will be starting its academic year without students on campus, as the institute has decided to scrap all of its real-time lectures for the rest of the year, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
After the announcement of Director Subhasis Chauduri, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai, Maharashtra, has become the first major educational institution in India to have let go of all face-to-face lectures in 2020.
Chaudhuri said on Wednesday night that IIT-Bombay would now implement its teaching "purely in the online mode", to not compromise on students safety, a report by the Indian Express stated.
He said the institution had been made to rethink the way education was imparted to students, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The details of "extensive" online class details will be given to students in due time, Chaudhuri said in a Facebook post, adding that IIT-Bombay wanted to ensure the beginning of the academic year without further delay.
The director also appealed for donations to help bridge the digital divide, as a lot of students come from underprivileged and socially, economically weak families. The funds would be utilised to purchase laptops, internet data plans, the report states.
Chauduri said that he did not want even a single student to miss out on their learning due to lack of finances. He said IIT-Bombay had estimated that an amount of Rs 5 crore would be needed for underprivileged students.
He said that while the alumni had "committed a good amount of support", it was not enough for all students. The heads of various departments have also sent emails to students to prepare a database of all those who don't have access to a computer/laptop and/or an internet connection.
After the 62-year-old institute's decision, other IITs are also likely to implement virtual lectures for their autumn semester.
Meanwhile, India witnessed the highest-ever single-day surge of 16,922 COVID-19 cases which pushed the country's total tally to 4,73,105 on Thursday. The death toll climbed to 14,894 with 418 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry.