CHENNAI: In a relief to many college students who have been struggling to afford internet for online classes, the Tamil Nadu government, on Sunday, announced free data cards. The decision is also expected to attract the attention of young student voters, who may for the first time vote in the 2021 assembly elections.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that these cards will have a 2GB per day capacity and can be used from January to April. The initiative is aimed at facilitating online classes which have become the norm in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the 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. It will be issued by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd. (ELCOT), a state government undertaking.
The decision assumes significance as, despite the government's permission to allow in-person classes for final year students, very students want to attend colleges physically. Many continue to opt for online classes. The low footfall follows from the cluster outbreak at IIT-Madras, after which both students and parents became paranoid about in-person classes.
Continuing online classes has also been possible as the government in December said that in-person attendance cannot be made mandatory. Colleges can, at any point, only accommodate half its total strength and must make provisions for students to study through online or other distance modes of education.