CHENNAI: In a move that could give a renewed push to online college education in the State, the Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced free data cards for students. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said students would get free card fuelled with 2 GB data per day from January to April.
The initiative is aimed at facilitating online classes, which have become the order of the day after the pandemic denied access to classrooms.
Palaniswami said that the cards would be issued to about 9.69 lakh students studying in 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 Limited (ELCOT), a State government undertaking.
As much a step in the right direction, the decision is also expected to attract young student voters, who may vote for the first time in 2021 Assembly elections.The decision assumes significance, as, despite the government’s permission to allow in-person classes for final-year students, only a few prefer to attend colleges physically. Many prefer online classes.
The low footfall has been due to the recent cluster outbreak at IIT-Madras, after which, both students and parents became paranoid about in-person classes. Continuing online classes have also been possible as the government said in December that in-person attendance cannot be made mandatory. Colleges can, at any point, accommodate only half their total strength and must make provisions for students to study online.
9.69 Lakh college students to benefit
The data cards will be given to about 9.69 lakh students studying in government and aided arts and science colleges, polytechnic colleges, engineering colleges and those receiving scholarship in private colleges