Published: 14th May 2021
We don't have any choice: Over 400 students from St Stephen's College write to DU VC to cancel semester exams
The letter said that the students of St Stephen's College are deeply distressed as a lot of the students along with their family members are infected by the virus
More than 400 students of the University of Delhi's St Stephen's College have written to the acting Vice-Chancellor Dr PC Joshi and the Principal of the college Dr John Varghese, asking them to cancel all undergraduate semester exams. The varsity had recently come out with a notice clarifying that they haven't decided on the issue yet.
Ananyo Chakraborty, a second-year student of BA in History, said that the students see no other option but to cancel the exams and opt for internal assessment. "I don't think we have any other option. Also, this was done last year when the situation was not this severe. Our future prospects are already in question, given the unsustainable online education system in India. Given that 30+ teachers of DU have succumbed to the disease, we don't think we have any other choice," he said. "The DU Teacher's Association has been demanding cancellation of exams for quite some time now. The evaluation was done based on the internal assessment last year which has been completed this time as well," he added.
The letter said that the students of St Stephen's College are deeply distressed. "A lot of our students along with their family members are infected by the virus. We've lost our near and dear ones to the disease. Many students have to act as caregivers to their COVID-infected family members and friends. Moreover, many of us have also been involved with COVID-related relief work, often risking our lives. These disturbing times have taken a major toll on the physical and mental health of the students," read the letter. Students all over the country have been asking for cancellation or postponement based on the very same reason.
The letter reiterated what the students and teachers have been saying since 2020 — under the semester system, the last semester is not equivalent to a final exam of a year-wise system. They also said that further postponement will delay admission to higher educational institutions in India or abroad, for those who want to study further. "The postponement of the exams by 15 days has also struck a nerve of tension amongst the UG third-year students who have received offers from international universities in order to continue with their higher studies. Any postponement would lead to direct delay of results that need to be provided for their enrollment," it read and added, "With many professors and administrative officials unwell due to the current circumstances, it would also be extremely difficult for the university to declare the results on time for the students," they wrote.
But the letter was not all criticism after all. "We are grateful that the University decided to suspend classes temporarily for the Batch of 2023, considering the prevailing circumstances. We request that the academic calendar for first-years should be redesigned to account for this gap since the students have been studying the same amount of coursework under a reduced span of time and without any break," the letter said.
Allahabad University has come up with a circular cancelling all examinations, including their third-year final semester examinations. "We really hope that the university administration takes note of the precedent and considers our demands," said the students. They don't just want cancellation and an alternate method of evaluation though. They said that the students should be informed of the decision as soon as possible. "Revision of the Academic Calendar for the UG first-years, Relaxation regarding internal assessments and reduction in the number of classes in a week for the UG first-years and declaration of all UG III and V semester examination results as soon as possible" were among their other demands.