We're angry and frustrated (Cancel final year UG/PG exams) #RejectUGCguidelines #Allindia

We're angry and frustrated (Cancel final year UG/PG exams) #RejectUGCguidelines #Allindia

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We, the final year UG and PG students from all Universities and Colleges across India reject the UGC guidelines published on 6th July, 2020. WE REJECT IT. 

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, exams are constantly postponed, unnecessarily. And now, according to the new guidelines published by UGC and approved by the HRD ministry, the exams are to be wrapped up by end of September, 2020. 

Some points as to why this is ridiculous and is only causing more hard than good.

1. UG/PG students come from different states and most of them have moved back to their hometowns due to the lockdown. The back and forth traveling will leave students exposed to possibilities of infection. The health and safety of the students DOES MATTER. Cases are also rising and the possibilities of another wave of COVID-19 cases is highly likely. Also, coming back from another state will result in a quarantine period of a minimum of 14-21days. What of that? And what about students who reside in PGs? Most have been asked to move out. None of these concerns have been addressed. They've been ignored. 

2. Most final year UGstudents have already started attending their 1st year PG classes and other value added courses in order to gain knowledge, eg., Coursera, SWAYAM courses. To expect students manage their PG, UG and value added professional courses at the same time is unfair and should not even be asked of them.  

3. How is it fair to grade 1st and 2nd year UGs on the basis of their previous performance when they only have taken up exams a maximum of 1/3 times, respectively? But consider grading of final year students on the basis of their previous performance i.e., 5 semesters, unfair? Marking the performance of final year UG students makes more sense as 5 trials can easily confirm the educational track record of the students and marks can be awarded accordingly. 

4. Pushing the exams to September, 2020 takes away precious time. Time is of vital importance. Many students are caught up with applying for jobs, taking up professional courses to better themselves, and PG classes have already begun. Conducting the exams in September is of no value as focus will be scattered. Also, it severely affects students who wish to take up admissions abroad. It messes up an entire academic year.

5. If the UGC is so concerned about doing right by the students, then give the students an option to take up the exam or to go ahead with marking based on past performance + internal assessment. In this way, if the students feel the need to risk their lives to prove that their marks are valid and therefore wish to give an exam by wasting a few months, they can do so. The ICSE/CBSE exams were cancelled keeping in mind the health and wellbeing of the students. Why has the UGC not bothered? Companies while hiring will accept that due unprecedented circumstances, exams could not be conducted. There is no one who is stating that exams are the only way, during this pandemic to prove the worthiness of the student apart from UGC and the HRD ministry. Also, all PG courses entail an entrance exam or some form of assessment before admission to the course is granted. No one is handing out assessment free admissions to PG courses nor are companies accepting students as potential employees by only looking at their marks. They have their own method of assessment. Either a candidate is capable or not. There's no grey area. 

6. The HRD ministry and UGC seem to have not bothered considering the mental states of the students. This is so important in this day and age. We are navigating the transition from teenagers to adults and it's frustrating as it is. Add the pandemic that induces anxiety and panic and what do you think is the state of the mental health of students? Its in the worst state possible. Students have to deal with worthlessness, self-esteem issues, suicidal thoughts, anxiety inducing pandemic and what not? Life itself seems pointless at this time.

7. The students have network issues. It is a fact. Online classes are not that effective and result in lecturers simply reading course material out loud. If this is the case of say, half the students? What of the students that don't have internet, are from poor families, of the students at a disadvantage? Many have not attended any online classes, some have not even had any online classes. How do you expect them to attend the exams? Without any preparation? Without any support?

8. Writing exams during times of normalcy is easy. We do it every semester. If it were about escapism, then the UGC is gravely mistaken. This semester has been long, drawn out and isolating. This semester is not like the others. A pandemic has many effects on society and the sort of effect it's having on students is devastating. Even more so, due to the ignorance of the UGC's latest guidelines to conduct exams by September, 2020. 

9. Nowhere in the UGC guidelines has it been stated that students that contract Covid-19 in the course of traveling to the state where the exam will be conducted, during the quarantine period, during any time that the students invests into travelling back and forth to the examination centre and the students home, will be taken care of by government of that state, i.e., all expenses relating to COVID 19 that would affect the students and possibly even the families (loss of job, hospitalisation expenses, rent) would be covered by the government as it is the UGC and HRD ministry's opinion that examinations are of vital importance. We demand that the government makes these assurances first before they talk about conducting examinations. As it is the opinion, that exams are a must and we must attend it, then the government must cover all the expenses listed above and more. 

Anxiety is real. Mental health issues are real. Please don't ignore it or worse, downplay it. It's been a long, painful, neverending semester. We've been studying the same thing over and over again and it's inevitable that we'd burnout. Stop playing with our lives, cancel the exams and mark us based on previous performance and internal assessment and award us our degrees. We're done with our final year. Its stretched out and we're at our breaking point! Its mental torture at this point! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

We are angry that our mental health is being downplayed or outright ignored. We are angry because someone should be at the way this situation is being handled by the HRD ministry and UGC. If we don't do something about this, no one will. Please sign and make your voice heard. A student's life matters.

We reject the guidelines published by UGC. It is not considerate of the plight of students. 

We demand that the exams are cancelled and to be graded on past the performance and internal assessment. End this nightmare of a semester. Please. We're tired of the way this has been playing out. Its our lives at stake.

#RejectUGCguidelines #NotoUGCguidlines #NotoUGCexams