A group of Australian universities has recognised the need to assist students, researchers and staff in India who are currently struggling under the severe conditions of COVID-19 in the country.
The Group of Eight, formed by eight of Australia’s leading research universities, understands that students have continued their studies online since last year.
Chief Executive of Group of Eight Vicki Thomas said that the organisation are finding ways to provide flexible study plans for the students and have maintained contact with those severely affected in India.
“The Group of Eight stands in solidarity with our Indian partners, staff, and students. Go8 universities have been working closely to provide study extensions, financial support, counselling, and messages of support,” she said.
Several of the universities that have stepped in to provide educational, financial and medical support include Monash University, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Sydney University and the University of Melbourne.
Thomson has also informed the Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Hon Marise Payne and Australia’s High Commission to India Hon Barry O’Farrell AO about the ongoing support from the universities to respected Indian partners.
Some of the support that the Group of Eight is providing include:
- Financial hardship packages and counselling – Monash University is providing hardship packages that include extensions to study timelines for 200 students who are part of the joint PhD program with the Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB). Mental health support and financial counselling services are also part of the package.
- Financial support, fee waivers, counselling – The University of Queensland is supporting 50 students that are part of a joint PhD program with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (UQIDAR). The students have received financial support that includes fee waivers and generous stipends. Counselling services are also accessible to the students.
- COVID–19 treatment options – UNSW’s Kirby Institute have three COVID studies sites in Chennai, Jodhpur and Chandigarh India. The studies host trials on patients in order to determine the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 treatments. The institute hopes that these studies will help improve the process of treating COVID-19 patients in the future.
- PPE support – Sydney University’s School of Biomedical Engineering is in talks with the Indian and Australian governments to see if they could provide assistance in helping produce more of their reusable face shields and emergency ventilators to help the situation in India.
- Medical Support – As hospitals in India are needing more oxygen resources, the FREO2 Project team from the University of Melbourne is figuring out way to increase production of their FREO2 Low Pressure Oxygen Storage (LPOS) device which requires no electric power to operate. If this device can be produced at a greater volume, it could help assist hospitals in India that are lacking in oxygen supply.
India currently has over 21 million active cases with just over 17.2 million recovered cases according to live data from John Hopkins University.
Photo: designer sketching wireframes, by Green Chameleon, available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. Image has not been modified.