by Tahir Bhat
SRINAGAR: Within a week after the opening of the higher education set-up, almost half a dozen teacher and officials of the Islamia College of Science and Commerce have tested positive for Covid-19, informed sources said. There is no detail available about the state of students who have been attending the overcrowded college.
“Last weekend, a teacher with fever had delivered a lecture and he tested positive within a day,” one informed source said. “Now we have two teachers and two non-teaching staff members in the Chemistry department, non-teaching faculty in IT and chief librarian in the college who have tested positive.”
Earlier, two of the officials had tested positive and have recovered.
Islamia College, one of Kashmir’s major autonomous colleges that teaches undergrads and masters is quite a popular college. It mostly caters to the students in the main city as a section of students pursuing honours and other masters degrees are also enrolled there.
The college’s current enrolment is around 3000 of whom fourth-semester and second-semester students have a hybrid mode of teaching involving three days offline and three days online while as there is 100 per cent footfall of post-graduation students and six-semester students. “By average, we must be having almost 1500 students in college on daily basis,” one insider said.
However, the staff alleges that the college administration has not taken the Covid-19 seriously. The college that is already facing a space crisis has no thermal scanning, no sanitisers, and no water points with soaps. The college, however, has some functional washrooms.
“The college is facing a dearth of classrooms and the teachers are engaging the theory classes in practical laboratories and some small rooms have been converted into classrooms,” one teacher from the college said. He was talking off the record because he lacks the authority to speak on the record.
Teachers said they are worried about the students, mostly the residents in the old city. These students live in joint families in an urban space where scarcity of space is fundamental.
When contacted Principal Islamia College of Science and Commerce Sheikh Ajaz Bashir said the information can’t be revealed on phone. “Please come to the college we will give you information,” Sheikh said.