From the Director's Desk - Message to students in the pandemic situation

DirectorDear Students,

I trust that you are taking care of yourself and helping your family well in this crisis time!

As you are aware, we have successfully completed our theory classes for the spring semester, 2019-20 courses on time by streaming the lectures in this pandemic situation. Though the institute devised a mechanism and is ready to conduct on-line examinations, it did declare vacation to you as many of you expressed that you are not adequately equipped to take the examinations now.

As you know, this vacation is of a totally different type. One is forced to spend time mostly at home, even if the lockdown is removed, due to a similar post lockdown scenario. But, I am sure you are spending your time very well in the midst of your loving family and exploring it fully in all the dimensions, it offers. This apart, many of you may still have a good amount of free time and I am sure that you would like to use this time to discover and pursue your interests. It is in this context I have the following thoughts to share with you.

Perhaps none of us have ever realized that we will be facing a pandemic such as Covid-19, it will pose so much of uncertainty, change our lives so much and raise questions about the post-pandemic situation. It has taught the world many things within the last two months. It made us realize that there are so many gaps in our Science & Technology developments despite so many advances, there is no divide along the lines of economic status and that our models are simply not in a position to estimate the behaviour and provide decision support about the interventions to be made. There are realizations about the strengths of our age-old time tested traditional practices, need for scripting a service-oriented motive for life, scaling up of the manufacturing of low-cost healthcare equipment, democratisation of manufacturing, and robust public distribution systems. Above all, it is established once again that even simple innovations can be the key to big success. It may also call for changes and reorientation in human resource requirements, outlook towards the careers, the career options and destinations. On the flip side, there lie several opportunities too and the system always adopts though it takes some time.

At the present juncture, it is desirable that you take note of the above and try to equip yourself with all-round capabilities and skills to keep fit. The present summer vacation is your first opportunity and you may like to engage yourself in this vacation through some planned constructive activity so that it helps you in acquiring the right skills, and pursue your interests while in isolation. Education is boundless and you may like to use this opportunity to supplement with education in other domains too. There are many options such as the following available to you:

  1. Learning engineering design,
  2. Solving an engineering/science/social problem of interest including Covid-19,
  3. Improving language and other soft skills,
  4. Pursuing interests in literature, graphics, arts, ....,
  5. Learning life skills,
  6. Physical fitness, yoga and naturopathy,
  7. Carrying on entrepreneurial pursuits,
  8. Learning interesting subjects including AI, traditional sciences and arts.
  9. Participation in Hackathons and competitions,
  10. Numerous other activities of your choice.

Please also take note of the numerous suggestions that have been made by Hon’ble Minister, MHRD in this direction. You may do self-learning and also approach your faculty advisor or teachers for guidance, if any is needed. Needless to mention, engaging yourself in activities such as the above would help you spend your isolation in a constructive and pleasurable manner.

As you are aware, you have a lot of material available for browsing from resources such as,

  1. Swayam as advised by our Ministry (
  2. Numerous NPTEL courses (
  3. The www, a great virtual library and
  4. Platforms like Youtube.

Let me go a little farther. There are ample opportunities for our nation too with the backing of its time tested traditional practices to show some more directions to the world. For the country to make such contributions and relive its glorious past, all of us have a scope and responsibility and I am sure that you would like to carve out a role for you in this endeavour amidst the diverse opportunities. May you have a very fruitful time!

With best wishes,
Prof R V Raja Kumar
Director, IIT Bhubaneswar