THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While educational institutions in the state have remained shut amid the Covid-19 scare, as many as 130 staff including faculty members of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Vithura have alleged that they are being forced to work from the campus daily.Though the institute has residential facilities, these 130 staff -- some aged 50 and above -- are daily commuters to the campus located on the forest fringes, around 40km from Thiruvananthapuram city. Lack of transportation and the declaration of containment zones near the campus have added to their trouble.
Classes had been suspended for four months due to the pandemic, but they have had no choice but to risk contracting the disease right from the announcement of the nationwide lockdown onMarch 24.According to some staff, who requested anonymity, the authorities have insisted that they work full time from the campus, citing a circular from the Union Ministry of Education which states that ‘Class A’ staff of the institution should be present without fail.
“Many of us reside far from the campus and depend on buses. But under the current circumstances, there is hardly any public transport available and we are also concerned about our health. Luckily, none of us have tested positive so far. The authorities insist that we punch in our attendance every day. They can use any alternative systems,” a staff member told TNIE.
While some classes are progressing online for students of certain streams, it is unnecessary for all staff members to be present on the campus, they pointed out. A total of 120 post graduate students continue to stay there while the others went home after the Covid outbreak. However, an official spokesperson of IISER said the institution is following the Central and state government regulations. “We have not deviated from any guidelines or regulations. The staff can work at their workplace as per the regulations,” the spokesperson said. The IISER campus at Vithura -- launched in 2008 -- is among several campuses in the country functioning under the Union Ministry of Education.
130 staff including faculty members work from campus.
The authorities have insisted that the staff work full time from the campus, citing a circular from the Ministry of Education which states that ‘Class A’ staff of the institution should be present without fail.