In the fresh updates, University Grant Commission renewed its April’s guideline and announced that examination would have to be conducted till September end. Many state governments like Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Punjab already announced that they would not conduct the final year exams.
As UGC is reluctant not to cancel final year exams, this decision has created friction between the state and the centre’s education system. HRD secretary Amit Khare told The Hindu “As per the UGC Act, State governments cannot take this decision. Unlike school education, which is on the State list, higher education is on the concurrent list. UGC and AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) directives have to be implemented. It is there in the act.”
In between this tussle, many students feel confused as the situations in their native states and the universities are very different. “When I reached Kashmir, I was disappointed because of the Internet speed, we have 2G internet connectivity, which is way too slow. I can hardly access any websites and can make video calls. It takes hours to open a 2mb pdf file,” said Danish Qazi, a final year student of Jamia Millia Islamia University.
Later, he recalled his mid-semester assignment submission, “During our internal assignment submission, I was really frustrated because I could not download the study material sent by our faculty, but somehow I made the submission on time. Though I was not satisfied with my submission because of the inaccessibility of high-speed internet, and it is going to affect my grades like many other Kashmir students.”
Kashmiri students are not the only one facing internet problems in their geography. In Assam, currently affected by the heavy flood, students are facing a shortage of electricity and viable internet speed. “Areas like the North Bank and Majuli is suffering from the severe flood. In those areas in normal time, the mobile connection is very poor, and right now due to heavy rain, the internet is not working at all,” said Raj Konwar, a final year student of Dibrugarh University. Dibrugarh University is a state-governed university.
Assam is obeying the current UGC guidelines of conducting exams until September, although the number of COVID-19 cases is still surging in the state. Kalyan Sengupta, preparing for PhD also points at this problem, “The number of COVID cases is increasing day by day in Dibrugarh. Some parts are partial lockdown some others are in the containment zone. Therefore conducting exam is not only difficult but risky also.”
Delhi University students are already in a dilemma after the mock test conducted by University. Ashutosh Gorkha, a final year student of LLB, DU raised the pertinent question, “The UGC and MHRD say that final semester exam is of utmost importance, but they forget that fact that in a semester-based system, each semester is independent of the other. The evaluation of the final semester is not the evaluation of the complete course as is the case with class 10th and 12th boards.”
“The uncertainty regarding the future has taken a toll on our mental health. Students are not able to cope up with the trauma of this dire situation and its ability to cripple student’s potency to perform their best academically or otherwise. The deliberate attempt to push for exams be it online or offline exposes the administrative bias towards students’ mental health and well-being.” pointed out Ashish, a final year student of Jawaharlal Nehru University. He also slammed the MHRD and talked about the inequality in the education system, “Exams at this moment seem absurd for it would require difficult logistics, and stronger surveillance to protect the transmission of the virus during an offline examination.”
Amid all of this, Delhi University Teacher Association also expressed dismay over the UGC guidelines and saying that they show a “complete disregard for students.” Delhi Chief Minister also wrote a letter to Prime Minister for cancelling the final year exam of the University of Delhi.
Featured Image Credits: The Indian Express