Safety and travel amid the coronavirus pandemic figured among the topmost concerns raised by final year students of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Ever since the exam schedule for offline examinations was released, the students have been objecting the varsity's decision.
The university had on July 3 announced that the Term-end examination (TEE) June 2021 will be conducted August 3 onward for the final year students of Under Graduate (UG) and Post Graduate (PG) programmes along with their backlogs, if any. IGNOU has also decided to hold exams of Post Graduate Diploma, Diploma, Post Graduate Certificate and Certificate Programmes from the same date.
Taking to Twitter, many students expressed apprehensions over travelling amid continued risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"How would we travel if transport is not available in our city? What if anyone gets positive due to the exam? Will IGNOU take the responsibility? Will they arrange transport for us," a student asked.
"Conduct an online meeting with students before sending them to the hospital. Train services are not available in West Bengal," Rinku Adhikary, a student wrote on Twitter.
"We want to know what is stopping IGNOU from conducting online exams when other things are being done in online mode. We want open-book examinations," Drashti, a user posted.
Vishal Rane, another user, highlighted that it will be difficult for students from Maharashtra to reach exam centres due to the flood situation in the state.
"Kindly postpone or conduct ONLINE IGNOU exams starting from 3rd Aug. Impossible for Maharashtra students to reach far away exam centers due to train travel restriction , rains and pandemic," he wrote.
Meanwhile, when India TV reached out to IGNOU over students' concerns, the university made it clear that it was in no mood to cancel the scheduled offline examinations.
"Offline exams are going to be held for final year students only. We had succesfully conducted these exams last year as well. This year too, we will hold offline exams in accordance with government's Covid-19 protocols. All safety precautions will be taken by the examination centres," Chief Public Relations Officer Rajesh Sharma said.
The university stated that the term-end examinations will be held in two sessions, i.e. morning session from 10 AM to 1 PM and evening session from 2 PM to 5 PM. However, it said the actual duration of each exam will be mentioned on the question paper.