Waiting to get on with the rest of their lives

Mumbai: It has been a seemingly endless wait for final-year students this year. They are weary of waiting for exams, assessment, results and degree certificates, even as they are eager to pursue higher education or start work. Every year, results are declared by June-July and even when inordinately delayed, the suspense has stretched as far as August but this year, they are drawing a blank.

It is mid-June and the final-year exams for all courses have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Maharashtra. On Friday, the state government directed that students would be given a score based on the marks obtained in previous semesters or a chance to appear for optional exams. But there is no clarity on how long this process might take, as there are over 10.18 lakh final-year students in Maharashtra.

Sameera Akhtar, a final-year student of interior design, said, "I want to start working, in order to support my family amid financial crisis. But I cannot get a decent job unless I clear my final year. Our results are generally declared by June-end or the first week of July. But this year, if the government is announcing cancellation of exams on June 19, I do not know when will I get my result. How am I supposed to survive and manage my expenses without a job? How long am I supposed to wait?"

Akhtar added she has been working part-time jobs from home. She revealed, "I am tired of waiting for every decision. First, we had to wait for exam dates. Once they were deferred, we had to wait for a confirmed decision - were exams really cancelled or would they be conducted with safety measures in place? Now, we have to wait for our scores to be calculated and the results to be announced, for which the state has not given a set timeline. I do not know if I will be able to get a full-time job this year."

While Kshitij Sharma, a student who wants to pursue a Master's degree programme starting September, said, "I need my marksheet before September in order to pursue my Master's programme. But I do not know if this will be possible, as it might take additional time to calculate average marks, formulate marksheets and declare results, considering universities are working with minimum staff in lockdown."

Sharma fears he might lose this academic year, due to repeated delays. "My admission for the Master's programme is only validated once I submit my final-year marksheet. I may lose an entire academic year if there is a delay. I cannot even go to the university physically due to the lockdown and make a request."

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