COVID-19 in Mumbai: Final year UG students appear for practicals and viva-voce from home

Due to the new lockdown restrictions on account of the second wave of COVID-19, degree colleges have faced delay in completing final-year practical, viva-voce, project work and internal examinations of the undergraduate (UG) programmes. The University of Mumbai (MU) had instructed affiliated colleges to conduct practical, project and viva-voce examinations from April 5 to April 15, 2021.

Degree colleges said instead of calling final-year students in batches to perform practical experiments and appear for internal examinations, all internal, practical and viva-voce examinations are now being conducted virtually via Zoom app, Google Meet or Skype. As professors are unable to commute to degree colleges due to the lockdown restrictions imposed in Maharashtra till May 1, 2021, degree colleges are innovating new methods for professors to conduct internal tests from their home.

Professors are conducting one-on-one viva-voce examinations virtually, said Neha Jagtiani, in-charge principal of RD National College, Bandra (West). Jagtiani said, "Fortunately, our professors had recorded videos of performing experiments in college laboratories two months before the new lockdown restrictions were imposed. Professors are now using these videos to ask questions and test the knowledge and understanding of students during viva-voce via virtual platforms."

It would be better to conduct practical examinations for final-year students in colleges. However, the current pandemic situation is not safe, said Kritika Mistri, a physics professor. Mistri said, "Students need to gain practical exposure to understand the working of concepts by performing experiments in college labs. But currently, we have shifted to a complete online mode even for practical tests."

Ashok Wadia, principal of Jai Hind College, Churchgate said, "We had pre-planned and were prepared for a crisis situation. Our professors are innovating methods to conduct practical examinations via the online mode in order to help final-year students learn and understand concepts in a better way."

While practical examinations are currently being conducted by degree colleges, the last semester theory examinations for final year Arts, Commerce and Science UG programmes of MU are scheduled to be conducted online, starting from May 6, 2021.

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