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With severe new wave and vaccine shortage, students face another year of despair

Campus Voice is an initiative by ThePrint where young Indians get an opportunity to express their opinions on a prevalent issue.

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A year ago, when I rushed back home from college hostel, I did not know that I was entering unforeseeable days of uncertainty. The initial days of lockdown were rife with the thrill and excitement of homecoming.

As days turned into months of quarantine, lockdown after lockdown and innumerable restrictions left me dead inside out. The transition to online learning ultimately led to accepting the fact that I may not go back to the physical mod of learning any time soon.

The mental weakness and physical isolation decreased motivation and purpose in my life. We have everyone and everything around, but the fact that we cannot physically feel and experience anything is traumatic. With the country gravitating towards a severe second wave, I am afraid of where the world is taking me.

I will have to pick up additional softwares and programmes to introduce myself to the job market as everything has moved mostly to the online mode. But what about my interpersonal skills? The maximum I get to talk on a daily basis is to my family or in between classes while presenting or asking doubts to teachers. Chatting with someone online does not contribute to my interpersonal skills.

Who else do we get to talk to? How will we pick up skills to interact on a stage with a crowd in front?

Students needs to be vaccinated

With India being among the leading manufacturers of Covid vaccines, it should prioritise vaccinating the student population.

What is the rationale behind exporting vaccines for free to neighbouring countries when there is a supply crunch in the domestic economy?

India supplied almost 2 million doses of vaccine to Bangladesh and a million doses to Nepal as a ‘gift’ under ‘Neighbour first’ policy. Why hasn’t India considered vaccinating students till now?

Students are our nation’s future and the government should consider providing free vaccination to them and resume physical learning. There is still a proportion of school-going students who do not have access to online learning and several of them are finding it hard to afford this form of education. Ignoring their situation has put their right to education at stake.

The global pandemic and successive recessions have caused unemployment. Migration and job recession were predominant in this period with a massive economic crisis when GDP contracted by 23.9 per cent last year. The government has not taken any bright measures except for the Atmanirbhar relief packages that did not really lead to any prominent change.

India has never considered climate change as a serious issue and there is nothing much to expect from the government in these unpredictable times. There is no measure taken for the disposal of masks and sanitiser bottles or PPE kits. The EIA draft issue saw a positive note after months-long protest. The arrest of climate activists in recent weeks has spooked other climate activists, who are now afraid of the system.

Where is this nation going? What about the farmers still protesting? Where am I going to get a job with years of online education? Please open your eyes, ‘the system’!

Asha Mary Reji is a student of Dr BR Ambedkar School of Economics, Bengaluru 

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