Published: 22nd January 2021
Why VTU's students, Vatal Nagaraj took part in physical protests to stop physical examinations during the pandemic
Nagaraj said that the students had come to him with 'tearful eyes' complaining about how they do not have hostels to stay, while they write the examinations
Since the beginning of December, a large number of students of Karnataka's Visvesvaraya Technological University have been raising their voice against the university's decision to conduct its semester examinations offline. The students who initially took to Twitter to protest the issue had later sent a rather fierce representation to the Vice-Chancellor asking him to conduct exams offline. Following this, they had moved a writ in the Karnataka High Court. Recently, in the past week, they have escalated it to physical protests against the university.
Noteworthy among these protests was the one that was led by former Karnataka MLA Vatal Nagaraj. Wouldn't it be ironic for students to take part in a physical protest against physical examinations, we asked him. "Here, students maintained strict social distancing. All of them wore masks and regularly sanitised their hands," Nagaraj told us sagely. When we pointed out that the colleges also follow similar SOPs, he added, "They only pretend to make these arrangements. Nothing materialises ever."
Nagaraj said that the students had come to him with 'tearful eyes' complaining about how they do not have hostels to stay in while they write the examinations. "Also, a lot of colleges haven't finished their portions," he says. While Nagaraj says that the protestors along with him maintained social distancing, videos from other protests that took place against offline examinations show students walking in clusters, without wearing masks.
Clearly, his faith in the students outweighs the faith he has in VTU, despite the VC's assurances.
Despite a lot of hue and cry, the university has maintained that it will conduct its examinations offline. Previously, talking to EdexLive, the university Vice-Chancellor Dr Karisiddappa said that the university will not conduct online examinations, considering the students residing in rural parts of the country. "There are many issues that the students face when exams are conducted online. Most of the time, the proctored examination software in computers doesn't work. All the colleges might not have proper IT infrastructure on their campuses. Internet connectivity and speed is a huge issue in rural areas. Many of the students who are studious and would have prepared well would be put into trouble," he then said.
However, this didn't go well with the students. Or with Nagaraj, "If the VC was so concerned about the rural students, the colleges should not have conducted classes online," says a student. "The university does not care about its students at this point. We do not know what the future holds," he adds.