The year 2020 brought a lot of upheaval in the education sector. In 2021, the challenges still remain. The contagion continues to pose health risks, triggering fear in the minds of many. Taking to social media, several students across various universities in India are voicing themselves, requesting the varsities to conduct online exams, or else the government should step in.
Students of the I.K. Gujral Punjab Technical University (PTU) said holding offline exams could be dangerous. In a poll conducted by the India Wide Parents' Association for PTU exams, about 94.6 percent favoured online examinations. The students also reached out to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla, elaborating their concerns in a letter. "They conducted online admissions and procedures of various courses. They taught whole semester online and the internals too. But in case of externals, they say that they have various courses and online mode was not possible because of lack of resources," a student said.
In Patiala, students from Thapar university voiced their angst over the conduct of offline examinations. "More than 5,000 students have to appear in the test fotr the Ests and only 35 centres have been allocated across India, out of which 16 centres are in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The centres all over the country are very less in number and hence not accessible to all the students. Most of the students have to travel 6-7 hours from their homes to the nearest centres," a student told India TV Digital. "Public transport is way too risky in the present scenario. Private transport is also not a viable option. Also, the invigilators will be randomly selected for every exam, hence, increasing the potential spread of the virus," the student further elaborated his concerns.
Those studying in Rajasthan Technical University (RTU) also objected to offline exams. In a poll, about 98.1 percent of participants voted for online examinations. The students wrote a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasra.
Students from Karnataka-based Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) said all colleges under VTU were being forced to conduct compulsory offline exams. "They say they have proceeded with the procedures but we students have never been asked for our opinions. This is a very frightening and unfair decision," he wrote.
Those in Bengaluru's Reva University also joined the chorus. "Our college is forcing students to take offline exams even when the college has all the facilities to conduct exams online," a student wrote on Twitter.
Some students from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) took over social media demanding conduct of online examinations. The parents' body sent a letter mentioning their concerns to Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and the varsity's vice-chancellor.
"Our university has decided examination will be conducted on pen & paper basis. Our whole winter semester was taken online by our college & around 60% weren't able to attend. If classes are held online why not exam," a student from the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University asked.