The emergence of the second wave of Covid-19 in India has resulted in loss of lives, jobs and livelihood. Many citizens are struggling to save their loved ones, desperately arranging for oxygen cylinders, requisite drugs and convalescent plasma, both on ground and through the means of social media. Many universities have suffered a huge loss as their eminent faculties succumbed to the deadly contagion. In the student community, the mortality rate remains exiguous, though many are struggling to save their parents or loved ones in the hospital and are themselves suffering from both physical and mental exhaustion.
The plight of students is such that despite being mentally stressed, they’re expected to submit their assignments by due date and appear in the online exams as Indian universities gear up for semester examinations. In early 2020, when the pandemic was still in its infancy and had low mortality rate, most renowned universities were satisfied with assignments, now, amid the second wave, the universities are ravenous for online exams, which is preposterous.
It remains a matter of fact that many students are themselves suffering from Covid and some of them, who have also developed post-Covid ailments that require time to heal, are unambiguously finding it difficult to appear for online semester exams. The point, however, is clear that Indian varsities want to stick to the age-old tradition of conducting exams rather than assessing the knowledge acquired by students.
Online classes are being conducted in most universities in India, and there is no panel to manage or hold account of the number of classes being conducted or the number of students attending classes. It has, however, been observed that in many universities, some professors are unable to arrange online classes and many students aren’t able to attend classes owing to network issues and low data speed.
Some universities promised devices such as laptops, high-speed wifi and smartphones for students who couldn’t afford digital platforms, but didn’t show any responsibility for the maintenance of these devices, as electronic items are always at risk of breaking down. Thus, attendance in online classes remains much lower than that of physical classes in the pre-Covid era. All these factors, combined with the mental trauma during the second wave, have been burdensome on the student community of the country.
Many students have lost the only earning members of their family, and are facing the financial burden of catering to the needs of the family, so they have joined part-time jobs for livelihood; and countless of them are still struggling to arrange the daily needs for their family.
Hospitals treating Covid patients are showing no mercy in their monetary collection as many families have ended up spending a huge amount of money on the treatment of their loves ones. Private institutions in India are charging heavy fees is another point to be noted that has resulted in many students giving up their studies and joining work. Governments should consider the plight of the student community and try to ease their difficulties. As goes a famous Buddhist proverb: “When the student is ready, the master appears”.
About the author: Mohammad Salman is a third year law student at the Aligarh Muslim University.