TN Govt Announces Free Data Cards for Online College Classes 

Data Cards will be issued to more than nine lakh college students in Tamil Nadu who are attending online classes.

Published
Education
2 min read
The TN government decided to give free data cards with a usage capacity of 2GB per day between January and April. Image used for representation purpose. 
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The data card will be issued to more than nine lakh college students in Tamil Nadu who are attending online classes.

In a major relief for college students who have been struggling to attend online classes due to lack of internet access, among other challenges, the Tamil Nadu government announced free data cards. On Sunday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that the state government will issue free data cards, which have 2GB per day capacity, to college students.

In a statement, Edappadi Palaniswami said that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the colleges are holding online classes for students. In order to enable the students to attend the online classes, the government has decided to give free data cards with a usage capacity of 2GB per day between January and April.

The Tamil Nadu CM said the data cards will be issued to about 9.69 lakh students studying in the government and aided arts and science colleges, polytechnic colleges, engineering colleges and students receiving scholarships in private colleges. These data cards will be issued by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd. (Elcot), a state government undertaking.

Although colleges reopened for final year undergraduate and postgraduate students, many continue to prefer online classes due to the fear of contracting the virus. In the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for institutions ahead of its reopening in early December, the state government said that only 50 percent of the total students can be present on campus at any given time. It said that the institutions should make provisions to allow students to attend classes online. “If some students opt not to attend classes and prefer to study online while staying at home, institutions are to provide online study material and access to e-resources to such students for teaching-learning,” the Tamil Nadu government said in the SOP.

COVID Clusters on Campus

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras campus became a COVID-19 cluster in mid-December 2020 as more than 100 people, including students and staff, had tested positive for coronavirus. While about 66 were students, five were staff members. Students alleged that from overcrowded eating spaces to not isolating students with symptoms, the IIT-Madras authorities ignored all protocol when the campus reopened after the partial lifting of lockdown was announced. A few days later, six hostel students of Anna University’s College of Engineering in Guindy, too, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

(This story was first published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)

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