Three professors at Lucknow University (LU) have tested positive for COVID-19, but the administration stands firm on its decision to conduct offline examinations at the college premises. The university has also asked students to submit the semester fee at a time the country is going through an unprecedented economic crisis because of the worldwide pandemic.
Over the past two weeks, several students have been petitioning the university to withdraw these directives, citing “poor sanitation facilities” in the college and “health risks” involved for the students who will have to avail public transport to appear for the exam.
With regard to the fee, students say that many among them aren’t in a position to make the payment for even the previous semester.
The administration, on the other hand, has claimed that they will ensure the safety of students while conducting the exam. “We will conduct exams while following the safety protocol and after assessing the situation at that time. We will follow all directions of the government,” LU spokesperson Durgesh Srivastava told the Times of India.
But students allege that the notices and press releases issued by the administration have certain discrepancies and that the administration has been misguiding the media. Besides, they did not consult with students before arriving at these decisions.
As a result, the National Students Association (a student collective) conducted an online video-conferencing session with over 100 students of LU and prepared a charter of demands for the administration’s perusal:
- Since a lot of students won’t be able to make the payment all at once, they have demanded the university to allow them to pay only examination fee in instalments – from the next session onwards.
- The final year students want teachers to come up with a “proportional marking scheme” which evaluates a student on the basis of his, her or their internal scores (assignments, projects, class tests etc.). Some students have also alleged disparities in the previous semester’s evaluation process and have appealed the university to first fix the same.
- The first and second year student have asked the university to promote them unconditionally.
- Finally, students want the university to consult with them and their parents before taking any decision.
Students in other colleges have also come forward to protest against their university for announcing offline exams in the middle of a pandemic.
A week ago, medical students from over 15 dental colleges in Punjab made appeals to postpone offline exams, which the administration has scheduled for July 7, the Hindustan Times reported.
“We demand postponement of exams of all years because students and their parents were not consulted before releasing date sheet. Our books were left in hostels and we didn’t get much time for preparation. The government can’t use us as their test kits,” tweeted a student.
Similarly, college students in Maharashtra have been left in the lurch as the state government hasn’t released any official notification as yet. Two weeks ago, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey had announced the cancellation of final-year exam across all streams, but there has been no official notice to that effect.
Hence, a lot of private and autonomous universities have started preparing for offline as well as online exams in their respective institutions. According to the Indian Express, last week, four private education societies in Pune – Deccan Education Society, Maharashtra Education Society, Maharshi Karve Women’s Education Society and Shikshan Prasarak Mandal – announced their support for examination of final-year students.
In the same vein, Savitri Bai Phule Pune University has also started making similar arrangements, sowing confusion among the students. However, the final decision, they say, rests with the state government.
Featured image credit: PTI