CANCELLATION OF EXAMS AND ONLINE CLASS- DUE TO UNAVAILABILITY OF RESOURCES AND DATA.
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Two months ago, on 17th April, 2020, when Director addressed us through a YouTube video, the entire student fraternity of NIT Raipur felt a gush of relief. We understand that Covid-19 is an unprecedented situation that the world is facing. Some of the leading universities of the world have started Online Classes and they are even taking Online Examinations. Last week, we too were notified regarding the online classes that are being held by our institute. The classes commenced on 1st June, 2020. There were some problems that we went through during the classes. Thus we, students of NIT Raipur, created a google form in order to enlist various problems that all the students (from first year to pre final year) of BTech, BArch, and MCA are facing. Around 1500 students (roughly half the total students from first year to pre final year in our institute) have filled the form in less than a day. There are a few prominent problems that all of us are facing right now. And we would request you to give due consideration to these problems.
The problems are as follows:
No-access to a good network for Online Classes.
The smooth conduct of online classes requires a good network. Due to high demand for data during the Lockdown Period, all the major internet service providers have reduced their speed. In addition to this, a major fraction of students of our college reside in village and remote areas where good network or high-speed data is not available. Even professors residing in the campus, having access to high speed internet connection provided by the institute, are facing issues with the data speed. Thus, at times their Video or Audio lags. More than 76% of the students (1000+ students) do not have access to a good network for online classes.
Also please find the article, which also states the dipping of network speed in India drastically. - https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/telecom/telecom-news/as-india-connects-to-stay-connected-net-loses-its-zip/articleshow/74878463.cms?from=mdr
No-access to Laptop or PC for online Classes.
Most of the students left for their houses from the institute for a couple of days and they did not carry their laptops with them. Without a laptop or PC, it becomes extremely difficult for the students to attend lengthy online lectures and complete assignments on their Smartphones. More than 52% percent of the students (710+ students) do not have access to their Laptop or PC.
Electricity and Power issues faced by students
During summers, major parts of the country face electricity issues and most of the villages have regular cutdowns of power. Due to this, many students are finding it difficult to attend the classes regularly. More than 49% of the students (700+ Students) are facing electricity issues.
Affordability of High amount Data required for 6 hours of Online Class.
1 Hour of video conferencing for any regular website (Such as WebEx or Zoom) requires around 500-600 MB of data. Thus, for a span of 6 hours, around 3-4 GB of data would be required. More than 93% of the students who have filled the form (1300+ students) are finding it difficult to afford such a huge amount of data per day. Some of the institutes, such as IIT Patna are even providing funds to students (Rs 500 per month) so that they can afford to attend Online Classes.
Students residing in areas affected by Natural Calamities such as Amphan etc.
Significant fraction of students (150+ students) reside in areas which have been recently struck by Cyclones and Floods, such as West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. These places do not have proper network or power supply and thus, students are facing difficulty attending online classes.
Students not having their study materials with them for Online Classes and Exams
Majority of students left for their home during mid-semester break and did not keep their notes, books, and study materials with them. Most of the academic books are too costly to order online. And students cannot take advantage of the Campus Library.
Students belonging to Containment Zone
There are also a lot of students belonging from parts of Delhi, Maharashtra, Ahmedabad, Tamil Nadu etc., which are placed in the containment zone, hence they do not have any access to local resources for internet, books, copies etc. They are already facing issues in their day-to-day lives, so how they are supposed to attend online classes or exams??
Psychological effects on students due to Covid-19
The unprecedented Covid-19 situation has taken a great toll on the mental health of the students. Some of the students are residing in containment zones and they find difficulty mentally to attend 6 hours of classes. We would be grateful, if you could inform us what the administration has decided regarding our examinations and ease our stress by clarifying our doubts. Some of the professors, during online classes have informed that examinations will be conducted online once the syllabus is complete by 15th June, 2020.
Regarding End-Semester Examinations
However, we have not got any official notice from the Institute website. We feel that, if Examinations are organized Online, it would be unfair to a large fraction of students, who are facing difficulty while attending the online classes as they will not be adequately prepared for the examinations. Also, many of the leading institutes of our nation such as IIT Bombay have cancelled their end semester examinations.
List of Colleges which have already cancelled end-semester exams and declared promotion – IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur, IIT(ISM) Dhanbad, NIT Warangal, NIT Rourkela, NIT Kurukshetra, IIEST Shibpur
If such leading IITs and NITs are coming up with a solution like this, we can understand how difficult the situations are for students due to Covid-19.
In a recent notice, Chhattisgarh Government too notified that examination of all the students (Except final year) would be cancelled and they would be given general promotion. More than 83% percent of the students (1100+ students) believe that General promotion would be a better option and more than 11% of the students (150+ students) are in favor of offline examinations in the institute.
A study by Delhi University reveals the same:- https://indianexpress.com/article/education/poor-internet-no-study-material-survey-finds-du-open-book-exam-is-not-feasible-for-many-6428890/
Along with this, we believe that High Speed Internet and Good Access to Internet in India is a Privilege that is enjoyed by a Minority of the population. If amendments are not made in the current decision by the administration, it would be tantamount to inequality towards those not having the privilege of high-speed internet.
Hence, we believe, like always, our Institute administration will take our problems into consideration and issue a better policy to put an end on online classes and cancellation of end-semester examinations and start with the new semester in the upcoming months.
Currently it may seem that the problem is insurmountable. However, we believe that if we stand together as a family, any problem can be solved like always.
With hopes that our problems would be solved.
Students of NIT Raipur.
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