All the educational institutions of the country have remained closed for the last one and a half years due to Coronavirus (Covid-19). In this situation, the government is trying to keep the education system functioning in various ways. As part of the government’s efforts to keep the education system running, students are being taught online through Television. However, many impoverished students cannot take part in online classes. Basically, the students are being deprived of these facilities as they have no access to necessary devices and internet due to financial crisis.
Under this situation, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) has stood beside the students. Students who are suffering from financial crisis are being given financial assistance. Besides, for internet facilities, the authorities are providing connections having active network. Through this, they have been able to ensure the participation of 100 percent of students in online education. At the same time, the university authorities have stood beside the students and their families who are affected by Coronavirus.
It is learned that many students could not participate in online classes due to lack of network facilities including devices when the online activities started in Coronavirus situation. In this situation, the university authorities send virtual forms to the teachers and students from their own online system and ask them to fill in the form as per the demand. After receiving these forms, the authorities give interest-free loans to students to help them buy mobile phones and laptops as per the demand. The company also decided to pay the bill for a high-speed internet connection.
Taking all into consideration, the authorities conducted a survey among 5,500 students. Through this, information is collected about the internet connection the students have, whether students have a good smartphone or laptop or whether they can afford to buy internet.
According to the survey, 370 students reveal that they do not have a good smartphone or laptop to join classes online. BUET pays those students Tk 30,000 each as interest-free loan on the basis of online application. Thus, 100% of students were brought under the cover of smartphones and laptops. Students who had trouble buying internet data for classes were paid Tk 500 per month. Some 1,800 students have received this facility. Under a contract with three mobile phone companies, students and teachers were given 625 SIMs with special internet data package so that they could attend free class-exams.
Before distributing the SIMs, a survey was conducted to know which mobile operator has better network facility in which areas. After that, the teachers and students were given the SIMs of that company which has better mobile network or better internet speed in the areas. If the speed of the internet is not good in any area, it is also reported to improve the speed of the internet in that area depending on the complaint.
At the same time, BUET provides interest-free assistance of Tk 45,000 to 133 teachers each to ensure that they have good devices. BUET started online classes by ensuring all the facilities of online teaching for teachers and students. Arrangements were also made to pay Tk 5,000 without interest for the purchase of UPS and power bank for the students who had problems with electricity.
Students who were infected with coronavirus were given Tk 3,500 each by the university and those had family members infected were given Tk 2,500 each. A total of 469 students were brought under the facility. At the same time, the authorities paid tk 45,000 to 133 teachers each without interest to ensure good equipment for the teachers. The institution also helps students to get vaccinated. Some 2,120 BUET students have already been vaccinated.
Students say many did not have a good smartphone to join classes online. They were able to buy smartphones with financial support from BUET.
“We are paid Tk 500 per month to buy internet packages. This helps us very much to join online classes. BUET also stood by the coronavirus infected families. Such an initiative of the university certainly deserves praise,” they said.
When asked, Vice-Chancellor (VC) Dr Satya Prasad Majumder said that BUET introduced online classes on an experimental basis considering the need for students to continue their studies amid the coronavirus situation. For this, the committee took the necessary steps to do everything online separately. As electricity bills and other costs reduce in BUET during the coronavirus pandemic, it was decided to use the money to benefit teachers and students. The initiative was taken as part of it.