New Delhi: While the national academy for Indian Revenue Service (IRS) probationers in Nagpur asked trainees last week to return home amid the COVID-19 outbreak, its counterparts for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) trainees seem to be better prepared.
The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie has announced an unprecedented decision to let students take their exams in their rooms, and the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (NPA) has asked trainees to continue with their exercise regimen in their rooms while the lockdown continues.
The Modi government announced a 21-day national lockdown Tuesday to ensure people stay at home and the chain of infections is broken.
It was a bid to avoid crowding in exam halls that led the LBSNAA to announce last week that trainees will be able to take their mid-term papers online, in their respective rooms.
“The mid-term exams are on right now… Since we did not want to alter the schedule radically, we decided that exams for students will be held in their rooms,” LBSNAA director Sanjeev Chopra told ThePrint. “There were some complications in shifting the exams online, each probationer is taking the exam in their room.”
Chopra also said the academy was providing food to probationers in their rooms to ensure the norms on social distancing are followed. “We have enough stock, there is no reason to worry.”
However, once the probationers’ exams are over, the academy will have to rethink its training strategy to ensure that classes can take place online. “We are constantly assessing the situation,” Chopra said.
‘These are trying times’
Meanwhile, the director of the NPA, Atul Karwal, sought to reassure probationers through a letter, saying, “These are unprecedented times and we are taking all the measures we can to deal with the situation.
“The NPA faculty team thought it proper to take all of you on board about the measures we have put in place, how all of us can help tide over this and the silver linings, even in the present situation,” Karwal wrote in his letter dated 22 March.
The NPA, he said, would be looking to conduct training through virtual classrooms and introduce new kinds of assignments during this period. The idea, Karwal wrote, was to ensure that no training time is lost.
Since physical training is a significant component at the NPA, he added, “Be careful of your food intake, don’t end up losing your hard-won fitness and gain weight. Please follow the exercise routine… shared with you, that you can follow even in your rooms.
“In spite of these trying times, I endeavour you (sic) to look at this period not as a threat, but as an opportunity,” he said. “We can’t really change the reality, but we can decide what meaning we pack into this situation.”
It has also been repeatedly emphasised that probationers seek help from counsellors during this time.
The conduct of the LBSNAA and the NPA has been in stark contrast with that of the National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT) in Nagpur.
As reported by ThePrint Monday, the academy abruptly asked probationers to leave the campus overnight since it could not ensure food in the mess during the lockdown.
Several probationers told ThePrint that they managed to leave the campus with great difficulty amid various restrictions on public transport. An official comment could not be obtained, but an academy official said the directive was an advisory even as they acknowledged that they could not ensure a functioning mess.