In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lives of students cannot be put at risk by conducting physical examinations, said the student unions and other organisations from the state, who had a meeting on Saturday to discuss the road ahead for the final year examinations. Unions have highlighted various examination patterns, such as open book examinations as well as assignment- or project-based examinations, which can be conducted online.
Following the Supreme Court (SC) verdict, on Friday, refusing to cancel the final year examinations, student unions aim to suggest a pragmatic way of conducting them to the state government. Sachin Bansode, leader of the Chhatra Bharati Sanghatana, said, "It is not possible to conduct physical examinations at all because the number of coronavirus cases is still high. Examinations can be conducted through the open book (OBM) format or multiple choice questions (MCQ) as per the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines."
If the state aims to conduct examinations, it cannot be done physically at all, said Manjiri Dhuri, state president of Vidyarthi Bharti Sanghatana. Dhuri said, "Examinations can be conducted through assignment- or project-based work using e-mail or WhatsApp. Students can submit assignments or projects within a given deadline and be marked based on it. But while doing this, not even one student should be left out from the examination pattern."
Students should have results in their hands by September 30, said Siddharth Ingle, founder president of Maharashtra Students Union (MASU). Ingle said, "There should be no further postponement, because students have already waited for over five months. The state should conduct examinations in other formats, which can avoid further delay. Students need to be awarded their degrees by September end."
Kavita Ware, central committee member of Students' Federation of India (SFI), said, "There are many students who live in remote districts of Maharashtra, who can neither travel to appear for physical examinations, nor do they have access to the internet for online exams. Not a single student should be left out or deprived of the opportunity to appear for the examinations. The state should take complete responsibility for the health and safety of students, irrespective of the mode of examination."
Over 10 student unions and organisations have written a letter to the Chief Minister (CM) of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray and state Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant, highlighting their suggestions. Bansode said, "We have also requested a meeting with the CM and education minister."