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Vishwas Garia|Jun 29, 2022
NEW DELHI: After a gap of two years, autonomous colleges affiliated with Mumbai University have decided to conduct end-semester exams in offline mode. The students, however, are resisting the plan.
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Autonomous institutions like Jai Hind College, St Xavier’s College, Mithibai College have decided to conduct exams in offline mode while the other non-autonomous colleges are conducting exams online. Sophia College, another autonomous institution, after several emails from students opposing the move, has decided to conduct exams online.
“All we want is for us to be treated at par with the other students of Mumbai University. The assessment of all students should be common for all of us. If we are being asked to write offline exams then the rest of the university students should also be assessed through offline exams,” a student said, asking not to be named for fear of retribution.
According to the students, the colleges’ overlooking students’ issues while “asserting autonomy” is out of character for them. “Our college has always followed the mandate given by the university. Autonomous colleges have the liberty to decide whether to conduct exams in online or offline mode. I don’t understand why there is an itch to go against MU to assert autonomy suddenly,” said another student.
The exams are scheduled to be held from March 28 to April 12.
The students further argue that conducting exams in pen and paper mode will gravely affect their performance in exams. “For PG admissions, every college has a cutoff. The students who will appear for online exams will obviously score better than those who appear offline. The people appearing online will have ample time to prepare and will not have to worry about accommodations etc,” said a final year BA student.
On emailing Rajendra Shinde, principal of St Xavier's College, regarding the difficulties, students were given unsatisfactory answers. “The principal emailed us telling us that the CGPA will not matter in further studies. Some of us are also preparing for IELTS [International English Language Testing] and the dates clash with our end-semester exams. Our CGPA is also crucial for placements,” said a final year student, adding, “ Most companies have a fixed CGPA for jobs. Good companies do not want students with a CGPA lower than 8.5."
A majority of students had left the campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown. Maharashtra, being one of the most severely affected, had announced a lockdown from January 10 to February 15, 2022, for all educational institutions. However, with Omicron cases plateauing in the state, the lockdown was lifted so that universities and colleges could reopen from February 1, 2022, for fully-vaccinated students.
A week later, the higher education regulator, University Grants Commission, had also directed institutions to conduct classes and exams in offline, online or in blended mode following Covid protocols based on their respective ground situation.
“Our classes are still being held online. Our practical exams will be held right along with our online classes. There are almost 45 percent outstation students and they want us to come to campus for a 10 period. We don’t have accommodations. Some of these students are in a desperate situation and have to come from places as far as Manipur and Dubai. How can this be justified?” asked a BSc science student.
The college administration has assured accommodation for the duration of the exam but students alleged that there is no guarantee for it. “If the administration fails to provide accommodation, we will have another headache to arrange a place and food for just 10 days while preparing for exams. This whole mess can be avoided if the college listens to our justified requests,” said a Hyderabad-based student.
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