Published: 15th July 2020
UoM History department postpones online exams after protest but students demand total cancellation
The students from the department were particularly upset because they had been given only a 5-day notification of the exams
On July 9, the Head-in-Charge of the Ancient History and Archeology department at the Madras University issued a notice to the students stating that online exams would start on July 15. After some students issued a statement in protest against this notice, the department head, a day before the exams were scheduled to take place issued another notice postponing the exam while not mentioning any dates. However, the students are unhappy and want the exams to be cancelled altogether.
In the notice issued on July 9, the Head-in-Charge states that the first year MA students have to submit two assignments for all subjects and that there will be an objective-type test for all the subjects for second semester and fourth semester MA students starting from July 15 till July 22. The circular also states that they are following the notifications by the UGC. The students from the department were particularly upset because they had been given only a 5-day notification that the exams were to commence and were apparently not informed about which portal they would have to enter to attempt the exam.
When we spoke to the students before the second circular arrived, one of them said, “The exam is tomorrow and they’ve not yet told us which portal we have to go to, how we’re supposed to attempt this exam - nothing. They’ve not mentioned the duration of the exams or given us any other instructions.” The student said that several students in the department were living in rural areas where network and internet accessibility is either non-existent or extremely limited, “A few of them just said they are going to give up because there is no way that they can find internet or a laptop to do the exam. In fact, two, three students only came to know about the exam on Monday, two days before the exam was scheduled.”
“We have not had even a single online class. There are a lot of pending portions too that hasn’t been covered because the lockdown was announced. When the syllabus hasn’t been completed, what is the need for exams? So many of my friends in rural areas are stressed out already,” he added. Following this, the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circular of Madras University issued a statement in protest against the exams, “When the University itself is not equipped to conduct online learning, how are students from rural areas supposed to handle these exams? The Tamil Nadu government has to intervene in the matter and ensure all the students are passed this year,” they had demanded.
In the second circular, the Head states that the registrar has asked him to postpone the exams and that the dates for the same would be announced later. He then goes on to remind the students to submit all their assignments.
Even though the students are relieved that they don’t have to stress about tomorrow, they are still demanding that the exams be cancelled. “The problem still is that students in rural areas will not be able to attempt the exams even if they postpone it. Also we are already burdened with a lot of assignments. We are supposed to scan the assignments and send it to them and this again, is a difficult process for the students from rural regions.”