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Offer unused campus space for Covid wards, take part in pandemic fight: Govt tells IITs, NITs

Congratulating the institutions on innovations they have come up with to help the country fight Covid-19, the education minister also said students safety should be ensured.

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New Delhi: Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank Thursday asked heads of technical institutions, including IITs and NITs, to ensure the safety of students living on campuses in the wake of the raging second Covid-19 wave in the country.

More than 21,000 students live on campuses of these colleges.

During the virtual meeting with the directors of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Information and Technology (IIITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and Indian Institute of Science, the minister also told them to actively contribute in the fight against the pandemic with research and innovations.

According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Education, apart from Covid management and online education, implementation of new National Education Policy was also discussed in the meeting.

“It is our responsibility to take care of the 21,360 students living in the hostels in IITs, NITs and other institutions. We should take all the necessary precautions and measures to ensure that students stay Covid free and safe,” the minister said, while also expressing grief over the loss of family and loved ones of the staff and students.

Congratulating the institutions on innovations they have come up with to help the country fight the pandemic, the minister urged them to contribute more.

“I am grateful to all the institutions for the kind of work that they have done in these difficult times. I am glad that institutions were able to come up with innovations like portable ventilator, cheap Covid testing kit, drone for sanitisation, digital stethoscope, bamboo furniture for make-shift isolation wards, and contamination-proof fabric,” he said in the meeting.

“I urge you all to contribute in this fight against the pandemic and keep in regular touch with your local administration. Offer your unused hostels to the local administration to be used as isolation ward if needed.”

On Monday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had urged that education institutions and community spaces should be turned into isolation facilities for Covid patients.

Also read: When will new academic session at colleges & universities begin? No word yet from UGC, govt

Meeting with school education authorities

This is the second time this week that the education minister, who himself recently recovered from Covid, met virtually with various stakeholders in the field of education.

On 17 May, Pokhriyal chaired a meeting with school education authorities from all states to discuss the challenges thrown due to Covid and how to navigate them. He was scheduled to meet vice chancellors of central universities Tuesday. However, according to ministry sources, the meeting had to be pushed to a later date.

Also read: DU loses nearly 15 teachers & staff to Covid, writes to Modi govt to set up care facility


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