Final Year Outstation Students of Pune University Ask Alternatives of Offline Exams

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The outstation students, both out-of-state and international, are anxious about their final year examination as Pune University Chancellor decides that the final year exams will be conducted in a pen and paper mode, leaving the students worried about their arrival at the examination centers. The University hasn't yet published any instruction about the arrangements they are going to make for outstation candidates so that they do not miss out on any opportunity regarding the examinations. Due to the current situation of COVID-19 in India, the University Grants Commission (UGC) asked the educational institutions to conduct the final year examinations in an online or offline mode and Pune University, considering the matter of equality, has decided that they are going to conduct the examination i an offline mode which would mean all the students from urban as well as rural areas will gain similar opportunity. But, there are about 40 percent outstation students in the university who will have to arrive at the exam centers not only from different states, also from abroad. With current restrictions in public transport (Many are unavailable) because of the spread of COVID-19, it seems impossible for outstation students to arrive at the examination centers in the month of July. Through this petition, I, on behalf of all those outstation candidates, would like to draw the attention of the University authority to provide alternative arrangements for such students without them missing a year of their education.

I would also like to shed light on the difficulties of Hostelites who will be the most challenged after they come back to the examination cities to write the exams. The hostels are shared by many people coming from different cities and localities which also include the areas under 'Red Zone' and no matter how much careful one chooses to be, there is a certain extent of exposure to the virus. Moreover, it is extremely problematic to maintain proper norms of social distancing when someone lives in a hostel. This will affect the outstation students because they would not be able to get properly quarantined while living in a hostel and this is also applicable in case of in-state candidates coming from severely infected regions. Conducting offline final exams in such a grave condition will not only put the students at risk, but also be difficult for the University Authority and the Teaching & Non-teaching Faculty. 

In both of the above contexts, I, on behalf of all Outstation students of Pune University, request the University Authority to reconsider their decision to conduct an offline Final Examination and/or make alternative arrangements for the outstation students so that they do not have to drop a year because the current scenario is none's fault. In this regard, I would like to mention that there had been a talk about conducting the examination for outstation students until the month of September, but this would mean difficulty in employment and further higher studies for such students as they might still end up having a year gap in their education which would be similar to depriving them of their educational rights. So, we would prefer alternative options so that we do not miss out on anything. 

Please sign this petition if you think every student has the right to graduate and should have equal opportunity!