Published: 28th November 2020
IIT Madras' Student Legislative Council, administration spar over conducting physical exams in December
The institute had decided to conduct its odd semester examinations offline from December 14 to December 23 for 2500 students
The Students Legislative Council of IIT Madras has passed a resolution to oppose the institute's decision to conduct offline examinations for its students. IITM had decided to hold its odd semester examinations offline from December 14 to December 23 for around 2500 students.
In an email to the students, the institute's director, Dr Bhaskar Ramamaurthi had said that the examinations will happen for the students at the institute or an NPTEL partner centre, that is geographically closer to them. He also said that according to a survey conducted by the institute, only 160 students do not have a centre that is less than 20 kilometres away from their homes. "Please note that no student is under any compulsion to write the exam in this mode. If a student prefers not to write the exams in this period, s(he) may opt-out of the entire end-semester exams for July-Nov 2020 semester now and take make-up exams as and when IITM reopens and students can return. Please note that a student cannot selectively opt-out of exams in some courses," reads the email.
However, this had received a lot of flak from the students, many of whom claim to be stuck in containment zones or are in quarantine. In response to the institute's survey, the SLC also claims to have conducted a survey of 1900 students. According to its results, 43 per cent of the students will have to travel more than 40 kilometres to reach the nearest TCS ion centre. "Hence travelling to a TCS centre will be extremely time-consuming. This clearly indicates travelling back and forth for multiple exams or planning to stay overnight. There is also the issue of the cost of travel and will cause an undue burden on the families of students already economically strained due to the virus," reads the SLC statement. It also states the possibility of a second wave of COVID in many states.
"Heavily crowded public transport, a daily rise of 100 to 1000 cases, elder family members, cost of travel and distant centres hinder the prospects of conducting exams at TCS ion centres during COVID-19 pandemic, and students are overwhelmingly not in favour of it. Taking this into account, the SLC requests the Administration to reconsider any potential decision of conducting exams at TCS ion centres," reads the SLC statement.
Now, a number of students have shared with EdexLive, the copies of emails that they've sent to Ramamurthy, indicating their trouble in writing exams offline. "If GMAT, GRE and Placements can be held from home without compromising on the integrity of the process, why can't exams be held offline?" asks a student.
At the same time, a few have also come in support of the institute's decision - as almost every state in India has rolled back restrictions on everything from shopping to eating out to even operating theatres. The government has also managed to conduct exams like JEE and NEET without too much of an infection fallout.