Published: 16th April 2020
Most students don't have access to internet: Pondicherry University Students' Council protests against online exams
Many students have reached out to the Students' Council in Pondicherry University complaining of not having access to the internet and facing various other issues during the lockdown
After several students complained about struggling to access the internet, the Students' Council of Pondicherry University has decided to compile a database comprising of the problems the students are facing. They hope to submit this data to the administration soon. Many students have reached out to the Students' Council in Pondicherry University complaining of not having access to the internet and of facing various other issues during the lockdown. The Council is compiling these problems to submit to the administration after a department in the University decided to hold online tests for the students.
"It has come into our notice that some departments have decided to conduct Online Examinations. Since the University has released a circular about the indefinite postponement of all exams until the lockdown period ends, and PUSC has already addressed this issue, we need to take this up again," the Council said.
Parichay Yadav, the President of the Council said that after they had come to know about a department holding exams, he felt they needed to say something, "Unless all students have equal access to this form of education, it remains discriminatory and we reject it. Many students have called us up and told us some have slow internet, some have no access. I've been trying to reach out to the administration but we haven't been able to," he said. "Now it's just one department but if we don't speak up, the others will follow suit and we can't let that happen," he said.
A few weeks ago, a student representative had written to the administration raising similar issues of students who were suffering because they did not have the privilege of accessing the internet. "There are also students who are having accommodation problems. Some had booked tickets to go back home, now they are stuck outside campus. Some went to Chennai to get their transport back home, others moved out thinking they were going home. So now they are stuck because the lockdown has been extended," he said. These students don't have any access to the internet right now, so carrying now with classes would affect them, he pointed out.
"Since the students are staying outside, they are also having financial issues. We want to try and get them to be allowed back into the hostels on campus. But till then they are going to have monetary problems. So how will they also manage attending online classes?" he added. Besides this, the student leader also pointed out that many students could be battling mental health issues that the lockdown has caused. "Many students are just not in a state to attend classes and write exams. We want to request the HOD's to get in touch with their students and make sure they are mentally stable and are well enough to take on classes," he told us.
So now, the Council is collecting information from the students about how many are unable to access the internet, "We are collecting data from students about the facilities that students have, or don't have, access to in order to give their Online Examination. When the Council has the required statistics, they will be approaching the administration to apprise them of the situation. The Council is sending out a data collection form to all students, these include questions on - facilities they have like laptop, smartphone, desktop, stable internet connection, quota of internet connection, what methods of communication is followed in the department, mental health issues. They are even asking students to tell them about peers who don't have access to the internet.