A day after the Supreme Court held that final year students cannot be promoted without holding examinations, students have demanded that the exams should be conducted remotely in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Purogami Vidyarthi Manch (PVM), an umbrella body comprising 18 student organisations who are united in their demand for cancellation of the final-year exams, said they are “unhappy” with the SC decision and feel that students’ concern for health and resources have not been addressed. They pointed out that universities were autonomous bodies and the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines should have been only advisory in nature.
On July 6, the UGC had revised its guidelines and made final-year examinations compulsory. It had extending the examination period till the end of September – a move that had drew flak from both, the students and teachers.
On Friday, a Supreme Court bench ruled that states cannot promote students without holding final-year exams, but said the state governments could approach the UGC for new dates if they can’t conduct the exams by September 30 amid the pandemic.
“When the parliament, courts and offices are all functioning remotely, is conducting exams okay? Will trains, buses and accommodation be made available for students? What about the students in rural areas who do not have access to resources?” Abhilasha Shrivastava, a member of All India Students Association, asked.
Maharashtra Students’ Union founder Siddharth Ingle said the state should consider options for conducting exams remotely – through multiple-choice questions, open-book exams, presentation-based exam or project-based assessment. “With travelling restrictions still in place and lack of uniform access to the Internet, an option that requires minimum Internet connectivity should be chosen to conduct exams. We also demand the universities to release the result of all students by September 30 as overseas education and employment opportunities are at stake in its absence,” Ingle said.
Musab Qazi, member of Students Islamic Organization of India, said at a time when several institutions were moving towards Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation to break the exam cycle, the SC order had pushed students back into the cycle.
Another Akash Dodke of Samyak Vidyarthi Andolan demanded the syllabus should be reduced in view of the stressful situation. “More exam centres need to be started in rural areas. In case any student contracts Covid-19, the state should also take full responsibility of their hospitalisation and the expenses,” he said.