VTU-Bangalore: No Safety Protocols Followed, Students Oppose Offline Exams

On December 9, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Bangalore, released the schedule for odd-semester examination stating that it will be conducted in the offline mode – a decision that students have vehemently opposed.

Bangalore currently has a total of 22,712 coronavirus cases which includes two individuals who recently flew in from the UK, where a new strain of the virus has been detected. In such a situation, students say that they don’t want to put their health at risk by travelling long distance to reach the campus.

“I live in Patna and there are many students like me who are currently in other cities, some of which are very far away from the college. New cases of coronavirus have been detected in the city. From my own college, two students have tested positive. How can I go?” said a student on the condition of anonymity.

For the past few days, over 72,000 students have been tweeting their fears over traveling to the city and requesting the college administration to conduct the examinations online instead. However, students say that the administration continues to remain firm on their decision.

According to students, the college successfully conducted internal exams as well as a few lab classes online over the last few months. And therefore, conducting offline exams, they say, won’t be an issue.

Also read: SKUAST-Kashmir: BTech Students Oppose University’s Decision to Conduct Offline Exams

“We gave our internals in the online mode and none of us faced any major problem. Other colleges like SRM, IIM-Bangalore etc. are also conducting their classes as well as exams online. If they can, and other colleges too, why can’t we?” added the student.

Besides, colleges that fall under VTU have allegedly been flouting the state sanctioned safety protocols, according to students. “In college, we saw pictures of students not following physical distancing norms. If and when we go back to college, we will have to share our hostel rooms with students who will come from other cities; we will have to share the mess and the bathrooms. How will the college ensure our safety?” asked another student.

According to a few pictures shared by some students from the campus, students can be seen sitting close to each other in the mess and in a queue. The college, students say, are not ensuring that the safety norms are not flouted.

Students sitting in the mess at VTU, Bangalore. Photo: Special arrangement

Students standing close to each other in a queue in the college premises at VTU, Bangalore. Photo: Special arrangement

Additionally, a lot of students in other colleges contracted the virus after returning to their colleges. According to a report by the News Minute, 69 students at Manipal Institute of Technology, Udupi, Bangalore, tested positive for COVID-19 after the college re-opened for physical classes last month.

Although the administration claimed that all safety protocols were followed, students say that they didn’t listen when the students demanded re-examination of students who had already been tested in the college premises.

Also read: ‘We Are Being Asked to Write Offline Exams’: Students at St Joseph’s College, Bangalore

Last month, students at St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore also asked its students to write their examination in offline mode despite students’ opposition.

Similarly, last week more than 100 cases emerged from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. According to a report by the Indian Express, one of the main reasons behind the outburst of cases was the overcrowded canteen in the college where students remove their masks to eat.

The picture of VTU’s mess above shows the same.

LiveWire has written to the university’s examination department seeking the administration’s response on the college’s decision to take examination in the offline mode when there are evidences of students contracting the virus in other colleges. We will update the copy as and when there is a response.

Featured image: special arrangement