Hopes of colleges reopening on Monday or at least Tuesday were dashed in the absence of a notification from the department of Higher Education about it, till Monday night.
Sources said the directorate of Collegiate Education had asked all colleges on Monday morning to provide information about their schedules. “They wanted to know how many working days we have had till now and how many days are needed for the second internal tests that were scheduled last week. We had thought that after collecting the data, they would inform us,” said an official of a college.
The date of reopening was to be decided on Monday after a meeting of department officials with college heads. Sources said institutions run by Christian managements felt it was better to reopen the colleges after this week as Good Friday was approaching. “We observe Maundy Thursday, the day of last supper and then a holiday on Good Friday. We cannot reopen the colleges on Tuesday as it would be too short a notice. Opening the colleges for just one day — Wednesday was not really practical,” said a professor of a city-based college.
Student organisations leading the protests have told their supporters that colleges are likely to begin on April 1. Sources said officials from some colleges had expressed concern over rumours about a collective student protest on March 27. “As long as it was spontaneous, it was under control. But even after the voting ended, there have been stray incidents of protests. Nobody wants to take a chance,” said a professor.
Colleges in Tiruchi and Coimbatore that reopened on Monday received orders from the department to immediately shut down. Students need to be back to their classes soon, say teachers. “Practical tests, theory exams, internal assessments — everything has already been delayed,” said a senior professor.