Published: 22nd July 2020
Maharashtra Youth Congress President writes to Ram Nath Kovind seeking cancellation of final year university exams
Students from all over Maharashtra are despairing over the HRD Ministry and UGC's insistence on conducting the exams, despite 300,000 cases being from the state
Maharashtra Youth Congress has penned a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking cancellation of the final year university examination citing students' health concern, financial odds during lockdown, digital inequality and mental stress amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Substantiating the demand, Youth Congress president Satyajeet Tambe reasoned, "This is a matter of utmost urgency as India is still in the grips of the Coronavirus and the grave public health risk such exposure would pose to students, university staff and their families."
"To this end, I have written to His Excellency the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind, to use his good offices to intervene to ensure that in lieu of the said examinations, that students will be assigned marks for the current semester based on their marks in the previous semester," he told. He said, "This demand by the Youth Congress is in response to the appeals of lakhs of students in the state, requesting us to urgently lobby the Central Government, the HRD Ministry and the UGC to cancel the examinations.
Students from all over Maharashtra are despairing over the HRD Ministry and UGC's insistence on conducting the exams, despite 300,000 of the 1,200,000 COVID-19 cases in India being from Maharashtra." "The decision is at shocking variance with the global consensus, which has led most universities around the world to agree that examinations are not to be conducted offline under any circumstances," he added.
Asserting that CM Uddhav Thackeray, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat and Sharad Pawar have repeatedly requested to strike off the examination, he mentioned, "It does not bode well for the BJP-led central government to impose their will on the Maha Vikas Aghadi." "Top-down insistence on holding examinations will accelerate the rate of community spread and will undoubtedly overwhelm the State's limited resources and availability of public and private medical infrastructure," he proclaimed.
Espousing on the topic of digital inequality, he pointed out, "Those students residing in remote, rural areas have requested Maharashtra Youth Congress to convey to the Central Government that most of them have not been able to avail of online teaching and fear being excluded from any online exams due to inequitable access to the internet and the requisite examination centres.
Under no circumstances must the HRD Ministry and UGC enact any measures which will have a disproportionate impact on the digitally disenfranchised. " Taking the argument further, Youth Congress vice-president BrijKishore Dixit said, "Moreover, the lockdown has had a bearing on students' mental health and wellbeing. In addition to this, the lack of clarity on this issue for the past four months means that they do not feel academically or psychologically prepared to appear for the exams. Students from less affluent and middle class families are experiencing extreme financial difficulties as a result of the extended lockdown, which makes it important for the Central Government grant them relief in the form of a fee waiver."
Listing out the demands succinctly, party spokesperson Latoya Ferns-Advani summed up, "Hence, in the interest of the students, educators and their families, we at Maharashtra Youth Congress emphatically put forward the following recommendations: Examinations must be cancelled for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic as a matter of public health and safety, Universities should not charge fees for the current semester as force majeure as impeded teaching and learning. Semester results should be calculated using an agreed upon formula which assigns aggregate marks to students based on their performance in previous semesters.