Conduct Final Examination for students in Online Mode to prevent risk of Covid Infection

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Why is this plea being made?

This plea is being made with a very genuine reason to make the worries of the students and their parents known to the concerned authority and to request for better communication between the college administration and the students and their parents and guardians. To make our questions clear we need to understand a few points. Not all students are from the same background, or from the same place. We all come from different backgrounds, where some of us are privileged and others not so much. Also we come from different parts of India, and even from abroad with hopes and dreams to excel in a reputed college such as ours.

Now as our college is deciding to keep the final exams in offline mode and B.M.S. College of Engineering, Basavanagudi is an Autonomous college which is affiliated with Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belgum; and the guidelines provided by VTU with the Ref No.: VTU/PS/2020-21/1386 dated 24 July 2020 (link) mentions various points in regards to conduction of exams of the current terminal semesters while most points have been inclined towards the offline mode of exam it is to be noted that the clause 8 of the same circular states:


                  "All Autonomous colleges shall follow the special regulations ensuring fair opportunity to all students and maintain the sanctity of quality of examinations. The Autonomous colleges are permitted to conduct current terminal semester examinations in off-line (pen and paper)/ online/ blended mode. They could also conduct the required number of contact hours for the supplementary semester (through online/ offline/ blended mode) and conduct the examinations for all the semesters as per the usual prescribed practice"


Being clearly mentioned in their guidelines that the college can conduct the examination in any of the prescribed modes, our college chose it to be offline.

A sincere effort has been made by the student body to convey the grievances to the authorities and request for online mode of examination, but all went unheard. Here are a few points how it affects us students in a major way.

  1. All of us come from different parts. So the COVID situation is different for all of us. While it might be possible for few students to travel to Bangalore, for others it's pretty hard. Staying in or around RED zones, we're already stuck in our houses because of the huge number of cases reported every day and the ever increasing spike in its numbers.
  2. This is a pandemic and parents who have businesses or jobs are already facing a lot of problems, not to mention the big loss of jobs and pay cuts that has been going around the country and also to be noted is that while people are not earning the same monthly wages, expenses are still the same, if not more. And staying at home the least all of us have done is to support our parents in any way possible. The pandemic is still pretty much existent and that support are still needed/due.
  3. Karnataka itself is quite affected by the rise in COVID cases as it has recorded 421,730 confirmed cases while there are 99,480 active cases and 6,808 deaths recorded. Whereas Bangalore has recorded almost a third of those total confirmed cases, which is 157,044 with 42,200 active cases and 2,307 reported deaths. And speaking on a larger scale our country is breaking its own record of COVID cases per day numbers, every other day, while having crossed the 44 lakhs in the number of cases as on 9th September 2020 being the 2nd worst affected country in the world. With such a bad scenario, it's like walking in a lion's den for the various students and the staff.
  4. As the Rail service is still inactive it's difficult for a few of us to manage our travel to Bangalore because Air Travel isn't exactly cheap, especially at this time with a reduced number of flights.
  5. Almost 90% (if not more) students who are not local Bangalore residents have been either staying in PG or in rented accommodations. The general term of agreement being from July 2019 to August 2020, most of us had to vacate our accommodations and now basically have no place to stay and will have to find a new place once we're back in Bangalore which is going to be a lot harder due to the COVID situation (while having examination pressure on our heads).
  6. Since many of us are staying in or near containment zones moreover travelling being the most common mode of spreading of the virus, anyone could be a carrier and start the chain reaction through the college. This is another reason even the parents of all the students are not in support of the offline examinations.
  7. Most of the students not using the hostel accommodation stay in the general area of Basavanagudi and concentrated in places like Ashoknagar which are known hotspots of the city which adds to the worry and threat to the students.
  8. Many students are dependent on a tiffin system, cooks or online orders for dietary requirements which again at this time is difficult to avail and at the same time also unsafe to choose, which again adds on to the pressure of students, both mentally and physically.
     

 A couple of points to be noted while understanding the plea:

  • College has already successfully conducted an online mode of examination for the final year students. Also students from intermediate semesters have been given a free pass in the current terminal semester based on the previous semester marks; except for students who were re-registered (students who are repeating the year). Now the offline examinations are being held for supplementary semester students and re-registered students. This is a point that has definitely raised a question on fairness on many students and parent’s minds.
  • There are many other colleges also that have conducted the examination or plan to do so online in Bangalore and in all over the country, which gives us the proof that proctored examination and subsequent classes is possible.
  • When a country like the United States of America opened its colleges fully there was an unforeseen spike in cases of COVID infection as college happens to be a place of mass gatherings. With the example of a relatively sparsely populated country it can be estimated how disastrous the result may be for our densely populated country. link
     

It is being emphasized that this is a plea to not protest against the college and create problems for the administration but as a final request for the college to at least listen and acknowledge the problems faced by the students as mentioned above and have a better communication with them, and even if the examination is not possible to be conducted online the assurance and sincerity of the college towards its students and the measures to keep them safe needs to be conveyed by the administration. This request is made with the most carnal of humanitarian ground in mind, the fear for life and of death faced by the students, from the deadly COVID-19 virus and also the mental and emotional pressure that would be experienced by the students and their parents/guardians in this time duration.

Following is a small paragraph on why the fear of COVID-19 virus

What is COVID-19? How dangerous is it?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered strain of virus popularly known as the Coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting many countries globally, which has seen most of the countries stop economically, industrially and socially. Moreover the number of infection and death count make it a fearsome pandemic that has not been experienced by the people of this generation before.

Although in most cases people affected by COVID-19 show symptoms of only mild illness, with symptoms similar to that of influenza, it has the history of making some people extremely ill and rarely, even fatally ill. Older people, kids and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart problems, lung diseases such as Asthma or diabetes) appear to be more vulnerable to this pandemic.

How can you help?

By signing this petition you ensure the collective support for this plea, and hopefully it could help the students from not facing the impartial and potentially life-risking decision taken by our college, with a possibility of alternative present.