Even as exams for final year dental and postgraduate (PG) medical students were conducted by Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) earlier this month, student organisations across the state have appealed to the university to cancel undergraduate (UG) final year exams.
Exams for nearly 9,500 undergraduate medical students are scheduled to begin from September 8, and will be conducted across 245 centres in the state this time, compared to 125 centres last year. Exams for nearly 5,000 PG students were conducted between August 17 and 25. MUHS has 393 affiliated colleges in the state.
Medical Students Welfare Association and Maharashtra Students Union have written to the varsity highlighting issues being faced by the students. For students living in rural areas, finding an accommodation near exam centre for the duration of exam is not only proving difficult but also risky, said Amravati-based Shivam Ghughe, in a letter to the varsity. “Given that hospitals have been turned into isolation centres and Covid cure centres, appearing for exams from such premises poses grave risk to one’s health,” said Ghughe.
“For travelling to exam centres, students have been facing difficulty in obtaining bus tickets. If outside students coming to test centres test positive, it can lead to spread and rise in cases,” said Parbhani-based Vidita Chormale.
Maharashtra Students Union, in a representation to MUHS, stated, “Maharashtra has emphatically said that it is not possible to conduct the exams owing to the situation arising out of Covid-19. The situation is far from resolved. There are many cases and the cases are still growing. Besides there are several containment zones in the state and public transport is still strictly limited.”
“All the respective councils of the different medical streams have advised through their guidelines that the examination of final year students shall be conducted as and when normalcy is restored and on the directions from the state government. By conducting the exams, the MUHS is heavily risking the health and lives of thousands of students, the invigilators, the other staff at the exam centres, and of their families too,” said MASU founder Siddharth Ingle.
When contacted, MUHS Controller of Exams Dr Ajit Pathak told The Indian Express, “We have got a go-ahead from the state as well as the High Court. We have had nearly 95 per cent attendance in our PG exams and are positive about conducting UG exams, so that our students can proceed towards completing their internships, where they can work as Covid warriors. While a section of students are protesting, we have also been requested by majority students to conduct exams and support their careers.” Only after declaration of results for final year UG students, they will be eligible for national level PG exams, he added.
Apart from doubling exam centres, MUHS has made facilities for providing sanitisers, sanitisation of exam centres and disposable masks.
Those hospitalised because of Covid can avail compensation up to Rs 1 lakh whereas any death due to Covid will be compensated with Rs 3 lakh. On August 14, Bombay High Court refused to stay final year exams of dental (BDS) and PG students.
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