Published: 29th April 2021
Why do these JNU students want three days to complete each end-sem exam?
While the students of SIS have written to the Dean requesting postponement, the students of Centre for Historical Studies are also protesting against online exams
The students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University have written to the administration for the postponement of the end-semester exams. Through a letter, the students of the School of International Studies (SIS) have asked for three days to complete answering each paper, whenever the exam is held.
While the students of SIS have written to the Dean requesting postponement, the students of the Centre for Historical Studies are also protesting against online exams being held in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic. "Some students (along with their family) in our class are suffering from COVID- 19 right now. Some of us have lost family members and relatives which has put us in a vulnerable state when it comes to mental health and suffering. All of us don't have laptops and we can't go to cyber cafes for typing in the middle of the COVID crisis and curfew," the students of first-year MA in International Relations and Area Studies (IRAS) wrote in their letter to the Dean. They have asked for three of their papers to be postponed at least until May 10.
What stood out in their appeal is that they have asked for three days to complete each paper. "Most of us have connection issues at home. Sometimes we do not even get the question paper or the intimation of when the exam will be held that is sent on WhatsApp," said a student who wished to remain anonymous. "A three day time will ensure that such students have enough time to manage to finish the paper properly," they added.
Manisha, the JNUSU Councillor for the SIS has also written a letter to the Dean. "While many of them were already facing issues in accessing lectures due to lack of access to resources, the crises have further aggravated due to the current pandemic situation. Therefore, I had already written to your office and the Vice-Chancellor that the semester is extended and classes and exams be suspended at the moment," wrote Manisha.
The students at the School of Social Sciences' (SSS) Centre for Historical Studies (CHS) also want their exams postponed. "Online mode of education has been terrible for all — even those who have resources at home to attend classes and write papers find it difficult to actually learn something from sitting in front of a screen for two to four hours a day. And this is to speak nothing of people who don't have laptops or the latest smartphones in working conditions — there are people walking to nearby cyber cafes, getting hundreds of pages printed at terrible prices, just to finish the readings for assignments. They are writing 2000 word-long essays on their phones every ten days, since the second week of February. There is no point in conducting exams when such glaring inequalities exist," said one of the protesting students.
Their major demand is that the exams should be cancelled and the students should be evaluated on the basis of their assignments. "At the least, extend the semester, suspend classes, allowing people to catch up with lectures and the syllabus, to recover and take care of their families, to prepare for exams; this also takes into account that professors are suffering too, and they need this respite as well. If even by end of June the situation remains the same, then exams should definitely be cancelled," said the student.