According to university officials, they have received letters from 250 students informing them about having lost a parent during the pandemic. The students – from postgraduate and undergraduate courses – sought financial assistance to continue their education. At least 20 of these students said they had lost both parents.
“A large number of them have lost their family’s bread earner. A female student with us, whose brother is also studying in our engineering programme, called me and said her mother will now be able to afford the education of only one child after losing their father, the sole earner, to Covid,” said Atul Chauhan, chancellor of Amity University.
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In response, the university instituted a “Covid Relief Fund” to sponsor such students, he said.
“We assessed the situation and set aside a corpus of Rs 50 crore to fund the education of students who lost parents during the pandemic,” said Chauhan.
The university has formed a committee to evaluate the requests for financial assistance.
Amity has also lost 10 young faculty members. The number of students who have lost close relatives during the second wave is much higher.
On its other Covid relief activities, Chauhan said: “COVID relief activities, but in a different form. “We have distributed rations and over three lakhs food packets in the first wave during which there wasn’t any casualties in the Amity community. But the situation is different in the second wave as our staff, their family members and family members of students fell ill and succumbed. So we created an oxygen bank on the campus with ambulances and drivers. We had 50 people attending our dedicated helpline for hospitalisation and medicines assistance for our staff, faculty, students and even their parents and family members.”
The university has also set up a 24X7 psychological counselling for parents, students as well as staff for emotional support.
“During lockdown we shifted all the process to online so that students not only continue to learn, but also do not face any stress due uncertainties over exams. We completed the academic session on time,” summed Chauhan.