Teachers and principals endorsed the students’ stance, pointing out that most of them had yet to resume offline classes at colleges and still preferred online education, fearing they might contract the deadly virus.
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The exams will be held in offline mode after a gap of two years since March 2020, when the pandemic hit and caused a series of lockdowns across the country, forcing the government and other stakeholders to opt for the online mode. .
The students, who did not wish to be named, said that as all teaching was done online, exams would also have to be done in the same way. According to them, Covid cases have drastically decreased but have not yet completely stopped and in such a situation there is still a risk to them or the lives of their family members. They said many of them had not yet received the first or second dose of vaccines, which made them vulnerable to infection with the coronavirus.
Supporting their stance, Maharashtra Students Welfare Association (MSWA) President Vaibhav Edke said transportation and accommodation would be a big problem for contestants if they had to appear for offline papers. “Instead, mixed mode should be embraced by the university by balancing theory and multiple-choice questions,” he told TOI.
Additionally, Edke added, “The curriculum needs to be reduced by at least 50% for offline items, as many colleges are still teaching in online mode.”
Some students at the outpost have complained that their hostels have been rolled out to accommodate Covid patients and are not ready till date. “As public transport has not returned to pre-Covid levels, we will face many problems traveling between our home locations and Nagpur,” they said.
The students added, “In a few remote locations, internet connectivity is a major issue with offloading. Consequently, many students were not even able to complete their program. They will encounter difficulties when writing theoretical papers in such cases.
Teachers and university principals have accused the NU administration of acting hastily for offline exams without considering the reality on the ground. “NU has entrusted us with offline exams where we have to prepare the papers, evaluate them and report the results. This is not possible in such a short time, especially in the absence of adequate teaching and non-teaching staff. They should have waited for Covid cases to decrease further before imposing offline exams on unfortunate students,” they said.