As though working on the frontline of the Covid pandemic is not risky enough, medical students must now deal with the prospect of appearing for exams, to begin from July 15. Students claim they are being forced to do so even as the number of coronavirus cases are increasing in Maharashtra every day.
On June 4, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari approved the proposal of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), Nashik, to conduct all under- and post-graduate exams in the state, starting from July 15. The plan was submitted by Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh. The MUHS governs all medical colleges in the state.
"I have been serving as an assistant nurse for almost 12 hours every day for the past three months," claims Nina Raheja, a nursing student. "I have not slept properly in this time, as I have been working continuous shifts without a break. I have not even touched my books or read my notes because I have been focusing on the crucial job of tending to Covid-19 patients. How am I supposed to study, prepare and appear for exams amidst all this?" asks Raheja, agitatedly.
She claims the government is not bothered about those who are saving lives. Raheja said, "We understand this is the profession we have chosen but we have been facing several risks on the frontline. The least the government can do for us is consider our contribution and give us a breather, by deferring our exams or finding another alternative. It is completely unfair to force us to appear for exams at this time."
MBBS student Yuvraj Samant claims, "The medical field is not just about marks. Our health and safety is beyond exams. Marks hold a prominent place in our course of study but not more than our health. We cannot be forced to appear for exams because the government thinks cancelling exams and awarding average marks is not feasible for medcial courses. We too should be given the choice of optional exams, just like students of other courses. Our lives are more imporant than exams."
On June 19, the state's higher and technical education minister, Uday Samant, announced that the state government would not conduct final-year exams but hold optional exams for courses, except for medical programmes in Maharashtra, due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation.