Soon after the University Grants Commission (UGC) released the news of conducting the final year exams, all hell broke loose. A majority of students in Maharashtra are seen opposing the decision and appealing for promotion under the hashtag #cancelfinalyearexams on twitter. Although the UGC said the exams were to be conducted most certainly by following necessary protocols, the final year exams still appear to be in limbo. A dispute has occurred between the parties concerning the same.
It’s been more than 2 months since the Covid-19 outbreak began in India. The Covid-19 lockdown in every Indian state has forced all the sem-end exams to be postponed in various states across India. Amidst all this pandemic nuisance, Governor of Maharashtra – Bhagat Singh Koshyari has announced exams for only final year students are to be held in Maharashtra state. Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) is formulating protocols for the conduction of examination despite the Covid-19 cases spiking in the state. This decision was disaffirmed by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray on Tuesday, May 26th.
“The decision of conducting the examination was taken after the direct orders that came from the state government authorities.”,Arvind Shaligram, Pune University Director.
Exam Pattern for final Year Students is as follows
The exams would be conducted between July 1 – July 30, 2020, as per UGC guidelines. Also, the University will follow the traditional Pen & Paper or the offline examination format. The examination for the final year students will be based on a 60-65% syllabus that was covered before the Covid-19 lockdown. The exam will be of 50 marks with a 2 hours time limit. The students having backlogs in the 8th semester are supposed to appear for the backlog exam in the college itself and will be assessed internally.
The students residing out of the state will be given a certain amount of time, but they’ll have to inform their college staff and the Head of Department first. As per the sources, the examination will be held in a batch-wise format.
For FE, SE & TE students
As per the guidelines, the non-final-year students won’t be appearing for the exams & will be evaluated on the basis of their previous semester results, and internal assessment.
Pune University has not given any information regarding the safety of the students and staff members while conducting the exams. This is a serious matter of concern.
We gathered responses from final year students of various colleges in Maharashtra to know their take on the ongoing exam scenario. Protecting their anonymity, we are going to post some of their responses.
Holding exams by following the traditional Pen & Paper format would be risky, putting the life of 8 lakh students at stake. Considering the stats, the number of positive cases has spiked in the last few weeks. As of now, there are 56,948 positive cases in Maharashtra and it would be a wrong call to make the students travel and gather at exam centers, hence putting everyone’s safety at risk.
BE Student, SKNCOE, Pune
Yes, exams should be held. Without exam how can one decide whether student is capable of holding degree or not….MBA Student, MIT-WPU, Pune
This decision is discriminatory. Since we are BE students, we have been evaluated enough for the past 7 semesters to judge us on that basis. Also, if they plan on taking BE exams then why not FE, SE, and TE? Why are they being spared? We are as much vulnerable to COVID-19 as they are!BE Student, SKNCOE, Pune
Its not that we students do not want to give exam or are eager to cancel the examination , but examination process would result in risking of many lives, also in Maharashtra as the numbers are still going up, its a matter of great concern. So, i just request you to look into the matter seriously for the sake of ourselves.BE Student, P.R. Pote College of Engg., Amravati
Exams should be held! There’s a good reason why exams for last year students shouldn’t be cancelled. We don’t want a few days of relaxation in exchange for our whole future. Moreover with this charity of a degree in our hands we wouldn’t have a fair chance at recruitment. It will also affect students how may want to pursue higher education.BE Student, SKNCOE, Pune
There is too much risk in travelling to Pune from other cities at a time, so I feel it must be cancelled. It can be managed online.MCA Student, SIOM, Pune
“Many of us have already grabbed our placements from various companies and the training period for most of them was supposed to end in June. With this sudden announcement of exams in July, the entire schedule will be disrupted. Companies have already asked the candidates to take up online training as on-site training isn’t possible given the situation. Now, if we have to prepare for the final exams as well, how will we focus on the training? It is quite stressful to manage both.MCA Student, SIOM, Pune
Currently, we are facing a PANDEMIC, so it will be very difficult for students who are from other states or students from remote areas to give the exam. There might be a lack of resources like study materials, Internet connectivity. It’s not feasible and secure for the students to travel in this situation.BE Student, RMD College, Warje
Not even half of the syllabus has been completed. Students don’t have access to any study material as they are dependent on the college library. Many students have moved to their native places after the lockdown was declared. Some students have moved out of Maharashtra. Placed students have already got their joining letters, some have their joining in July. Hence, the decision of conducting exams amidst this pandemic is unwise.BE Student, VCET, Pune
Yes, exams should be held. Students who are placed , if they don’t give exams, they will have to face many problems. And also not to forget about the students who are planning to go for higher education.B. Pharm Student, SIOP, Pune
I am a student from J&K. Due of only 2G mobile network services available here, I was not able to attend the online video lectures by my college. All the J&K students of Pune University are facing the same problem. Our concepts are not clear and this is not fair for us to appear for exams with our present preparations.B.Com Student, Yashwantrao Mohite College, Pune
मी मुंबई मध्ये राहतो जे रेड झोन मध्ये आहे. माझी बिल्डिंग sealed आहे. माझा वरच्या मजल्यावर कोरोना patient आहे. खालच्या मजल्यावर एक patient आहे. अशा तणावात मी कसा अभ्यास करणार आहे? मी lockdown च्या आधी घरी आलोय. येताना पुस्तक वगरे काहीच नाही आणल.. तर मी अभ्यास कसा करू? बर मी कसा तरी अभ्यास करून मुंबई वरून पुण्याला आलो. परीक्षा देताना मला कोरोना झाला तर? आणि कोरोना झाल्यावर मी जगलो नाही तर? माझा आई – वडिलांना सरकार, विरोधक किंवा abvp सांभाळणार आहे का? माझा वडिलांनी दिवस रात्र एक करून मला इंजिनीरिंग ला टाकलाय.. मी खूप मेहनत करून शेवट च्या वर्ष पर्यंत पोचलोय. थोडक्या साठी माझा जीव घेऊ नका. माझी कळकळीची विनंती आहे परीक्षा रद्द करा.. मीच जगलो नाही तर मी दिलेल्या परीक्षेचा काय उपयोग?BE Student, RMD College, Warje
Translation: “I live in a red zone area in Mumbai. My building is sealed. I have a corona patient upstairs. There is a patient downstairs. How am I going to study under such stress? I came home before the lockdown. I haven’t brought any books with me. How am I supposed to study? Suppose I manage to study and travel to Pune from Mumbai. What if I contract the virus while taking the exam? What if I don’t survive it? Will the government, the opposition, or the abvp take care of my parents? My father has toiled away day-and-night to pay for my studies. I’ve worked hard to reach the final year. Don’t take my life away. It is my heartfelt request to cancel the exam. If I don’t live, what is the use of the exam I take? “
Raj Thackeray also wrote a letter to the Maharashtra Governor in which he asked to postpone university exams during the pandemic. Further, he also mentioned cancelling the exams to ensure the safety of students in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He stated a question saying, “Why is there this unreasonable demand to hold the final year examinations? Why and for Who ?”, he wrote in his letter.
“Lock-down is eased, but we aren’t free from Corona virus yet.”, he stated.
Maharashtra Minister of Higher Technical Education, Uday Samant also requested the UGC to cancel the final semester examination.
As of now, there are 56000+ cases in the Maharashtra state itself, which is almost ⅓ of the total cases in the nation. Pune with second-most cases(6600+) after Mumbai(34000+) is on the verge of conducting the examination which undoubtedly is a very risky step as no vaccine is found for this highly contagious disease.
Of all the views that we saw above, here are some straight facts that we assure students are definitely facing:
- The amount of syllabus completed till mid March is not enough for students to appear for the examination.
- Students are facing several issues even during the online lectures.
- Appearing for exams without clear concepts will lead you nowhere.
- Most students of SPPU don’t reside in the city itself hence will face a lot of travelling issues if the exams happen.
What all of us are going through right now, the Covid19 Pandemic, is not just some common flu that will disappear with the time. This has never happened for years before and is something all of us should be really concerned about.
Conducting exams by risking lives are not the only way to shaping the nation’s future.
We hope that the University Grants Commission (UGC) keeps every point in protocol and takes a publicly valid action that favors not only the students but also the future of the entire nation.
We assure you to post more of your responses on our Instagram Page.
This article is written by Jayesh Padhiar and Lubna Shaikh