‘Gono’ rooms, health safety major concerns
After one and a half years, authorities of Jahangirnagar University (JU) are going to reopen the institute's dormitories today, ending the students' long wait.
Although authorities underscored decisions centring on health safety and have planned to get rid of "gono" rooms, where many students cram into one room for accommodation, implementation of such decisions will be difficult, said the university's students.
According to JU syndicate, the institute's highest governing body, students who have received the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed into dormitories from today, while in-person classes and examinations will begin from October 21.
Students will have to strictly follow health guidelines, which includes wearing masks on campus, stated a circular signed by JU acting registrar Rahima Kaneez.
Talking to The Daily Star, Shovon Rahman, convener of JU Chhatra Front, said, "How will authorities get rid of all gono rooms when they fear student leaders of the ruling party? They [authorities] earlier held a discussion session about the university's reopening with students, but mostly the ruling party's men, who are former students, were there. It'll be difficult to do away with gono rooms if the ruling party interferes in the procedure."
"University authorities don't have a clear roadmap to abolish gono rooms. Currently,
former students occupy the seats, as far as we know, so actual students are being deprived of accommodation.
Rakibul Rony, general secretary of JU Chhatra Union, echoed the same and underscored the need for proper medical facilities.
"We are shocked to hear that authorities this year lowered the budget for JU's lone medical centre. There are no isolation seats at the centre for Covid patients. How will they handle everything, if the Covid situation worsens?" he asked.
"Inside the university, shopkeepers, staffers and rickshaw-pullers are mostly excluded from the vaccination programme. They should come under consideration," he added.
JU Provost Committee President Prof Muzibur Rahman acknowledged that abolishing gono rooms at once will not be possible, but authorities will take steps gradually.
Meanwhile, the university will launch a Covid-19 vaccination drive for students on campus from today at the institute's Wazed Miah Science Research Center.
Prof AA Mamun, the centre's director and president of the JU Teachers Association, is working as the initiative's coordinator.
The vaccination work will run from 10am to 1:30pm every day, said Prof Mamun.
According to JU's Public Relations Office (PRO), 43 percent of students already got two shots of the vaccine till yesterday, while 12 percent only got the first shot.
However, 21 percent students have not been jabbed a single dose yet, while 13 percent do not have NIDs, said PRO's acting director Dr Mohammad Mahiuddin.