No exams for all engineering, pharmacy and other university degree students, Promote them!
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We are Engineering final year students. Last month, UGC has formulated new rules and regulations to conduct university semester exams for all students of all central, state and its affiliated colleges across the country. But before, just look at the extremity of the pandemic across the world, India has crossed 2 lakh cases with highest number in Maharashtra. I am glad that Maharashtra government has announced to cancel all the school, and university exams for all students, and marking them on the basis of previous academic percentage/aggregate in their state taking into the consideration of the severity of corona cases everyday.
But what about students in other states? They must be having their own ambitions in future, after semester. The Covid battle is not over yet.In the case of final year students, most of them are placed and some wish to pursue higher studies. Results are essential for this purpose. The government may say that " All educational institutions may reopen only when there are zero corona virus cases " - this isn't likely to happen; new cases are coming up everyday. It may take a long time (several months) before the state reports zero cases of the viral infection. This means a loss in career growth and academic period for the students. All the students of state and its affiliated colleges are receiving notifications from their respective colleges regarding payment of exam fee, issue of hall tickets etc. And final year students have been told to submit project reports and other things online. But what about those students who do not have laptop or PC? All other deemed universities in India like IIT's, Amity university have cancelled the exams for all its students and will follow aggregate marking. Online classes comes under its own set of limitations like, they aren't as effective as physical classrooms when it comes to learning and clarifying doubts with the teacher,no proper availability of smart phones. Students who live in areas without or with limited network coverage have difficulties in accessing the online learning platforms. Also, online classes are frustrating - hence teachers don't really want to teach and students don't really want to learn. This is the truth. Hence, syllabus is not completed properly. As soon as we got notification from our college regarding payment of exam fee, the students rushed. But social distancing is not properly maintained in the campus. As exam duration has been reduced to 2 hours, suppose a person is carrying the virus but shows no symptoms,that person will infect all the surfaces and none of us would be aware of it. In that case, many of the students would be moved to covid ward or Institutional quarantine centres with just a phone call to inform their parents. Parents would be shattered upon hearing such piece of news. Who will be responsible if such incident occurs? It would not be wise to conduct exams in such a time. As the number of cases are increasing everyday, Parents are reluctant to send their child outside, be it a containment zone or not. Later when the cases are zero, the management can take a decision to start classes for next academic year at college or start online classes. Also many colleges have been put to use as corona virus wards. Conducting exams amidst this pandemic will put lakhs of lives at risk - there is no guarantee for the safety of students despite the measures being taken. There will still be possibilties - (that can't be predicted) for the virus to spread. In case exams are conducted, students (mainly hostellers and those who have rented rooms close to their colleges) have to travel back from their home-towns. Travelling and accomodation create a situation where the virus can infect the students. Are conducting exams more important than the health of students? Faculty near to or above 60 years of age are also at risk of contracting the virus. The Coronavirus does't ask anyone of their financial position, or designation. It simply hits people with greater force of any age group.
The solution for this problem:
Hence, in view to ensure student's safety, good health and to safeguard parent's interest, the only solution would be to cancel the exams and promote them based on the Internal assessment and previous semester grades. University should conduct a survey on the students to find out their difficulties (and also their suggestions) in writing the exams. Based on this, fair decisions should be taken. The survey can be taken with the help of google forms. We keep checking the news feed everyday from the government. Again and again, we humbly request our government to promote all years ( including Final Years) based on their internal performance or past semester results. The results are essential for enrolling into higher studies or starting a career. As there is a saying that today's students will be tomorrow's leaders, this would be the best possible thing to safeguard student's interests and to protect them. We hope that the government heeds to our plea and makes the right decision.
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