UGC Asks Education Institutes to Spread Awareness About COVID-19, Issues New Advisory

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked the higher education institutes across India to “play a lead role in spreading awareness with a renewed emphasis on ‘Dawai Bhi Kadai Bhi'” in its latest circular. Just as the universities across India had started reopening in a phased-wise manner, the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic has led to further restrictions across campuses.

From Delhi University to the University of Pune to IITs to IIMs, institutes are asking students to limit presence on campus and online classes are still on for a large section of students. The UGC has now issued a new advisory for higher education institutes asking them to not only follow COVID-appropriate behavior but also set an example for others.

In its latest notice, UGC wrote to heads of all education institutes across the country including institutes and universities, “It is the cause of great worry that we are confronted with rising upward cases of COVID-19 throughout the country. To address this emerging crisis, it has been decided to focus on the five-fold strategy to deal with the situation – testing, tracing, treatment, COVID-appropriate behavior, and vaccination.” The UGC added, “heads of higher education institutions, faculty, students, and staff are requested to spread awareness about COVID appropriate behavior through websites and other media”

UGC asked colleges to tweet COVID-19 appropriate behavior using hashtag #United2FightCorona. The message should cover COVID-19 related information such as cover mouth with a mask, wash hands frequently, do not touch eyes, nose, and mouth, maintain social distancing, avoid large gatherings, and toll-free national helpline 1075 and state helplines, said UGC.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had asked for support from universities and higher education institutes to ensure the right information is disseminated to the public. In a letter, Rajesh Bhushan Secretary MoHFW wrote, "Ministry of Education has collaborated with MoHFW as an equal partner hitherto and especially during the outbreak of COVID-19". This was at the time of the rolling-out of COVID-19 vaccines.

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