The previous government had given data cards with 2GB per day data to about nine lakh students of government and aided arts and science colleges, polytechnics and engineering colleges to enable them to attend online classes like those from the private colleges.
Though there were rumors that the free data card connection was withdrawn after the DMK government came to power recently, the scheme was continued and online classes for undergraduate and postgraduate students for this academic year started from August 9.
Higher Education Department Secretary D Karthikeyan told DT Next that the scheme would continue. “It is already available, it is working and it would continue to work,” asserted the official.
A senior official from the Higher Education Department added that the government was keen to continue online mode of classes for the students for some more time due to warnings of a possible third wave of the pandemic.
According to him, the government is considering the possibility of increasing the capacity of the data card and also looking at engaging another mobile service provider for speedy internet connection.
“Therefore, the scheme will continue, as it will be required for the students to access online classes in case another lockdown is imposed due to the pandemic situation. The authorities have asked for the fresh list of students because about three lakh final year students would have been promoted (after the end of last academic year),” he said.
P Thirunavukkarasu, president, Association of University Teachers (AUT), pointed out that the free 2GB data was very useful for the students of government and aided colleges. It also came handy while conducting semester exams successfully, he added.
However, even though free data card being provided by the government helps the students, it would still not replace classroom learning because rural students were struggling to get internet connection due to network problem.