Teachers and principals agreed with the students’ stand, noting that most of them have not resumed offline classes in colleges and still prefer online teaching for fear of catching the deadly virus.
The exams will be held in offline mode after a gap of two years from March 2020, when the pandemic hit and led to a series of lockdowns across the country, forcing the government and other stakeholders to opt for online mode.
The students, who did not want to be named, said that since the entire teaching is done online, the exams should also be conducted in the same manner. According to them, the cases of covid have reduced significantly but have not stopped completely yet, in such a situation, their lives or their family members are always at risk. Many of them have not yet received their first or second dose of vaccinations, making them vulnerable to coronavirus infection, she said.
Supporting their stand, Maharashtra Students Welfare Association (MSWA) president Vaibhav Edke said that travel and accommodation will be a big problem for the commuters if they appear for the offline papers. “Instead, the university should adopt a blended mode, balancing theory and multiple-choice questions,” he told TOI.
Also, Edke added, “Syllabus should be reduced by at least 50% for offline papers as many colleges are still teaching in online mode”.
Some outstation students have complained that their hostels have been deployed to accommodate Covid patients and are not ready till date. “As public transport has not changed to its pre-Covid status, we face a lot of problems while traveling from our native places to Nagpur,” she said.
The students added, “In some remote locations, internet connectivity is a major issue along with load shedding. Therefore, many students could not even complete their syllabus. In such cases they face difficulties while writing theory papers.
College teachers and principals accused the NU administration of rushing for offline exams without considering the ground reality. “NU has entrusted us with offline exams where we have to set papers, conduct evaluation and declare results. This is not possible in such a short period of time, especially in the absence of adequate teaching and non-teaching staff. They should have waited till the Covid cases come down further before making offline exams mandatory on vulnerable students,” she said.