The pandemic has hit education the world over. In India, the challenges are beyond what could be imagined due to the pandemic. One of India's top universities, Christ University took the controversial decision to proceed with exams for students amid the pandemic. Now, the student body after much protest has taken the legal route and written to the Chief Justice in Karnataka about the matter.
While many students' future hangs in the balance, universities and schools are showing little regard to the plight of students as per the current scheme of things. IBT, India, had earlier reported that the university would proceed with the exams and shed light on what the students were going through. Clearly, resolution in this regard is yet to be seen.
Student body writes to CJ
So far, students of Christ University in Bengaluru have been protesting the university's decision to conduct online exams that started on July 13 or appear for the offline exams once classes reopen. However, the students feel this decision has been unfair without adequately looking at their side of things.
The Higher Education Department had recently cancelled exams for all non-final year students at universities across courses. However, Christ University had said that they abide by UGC guidelines and not the State government.
Since the situation snowballed into a student protest, the university proceeded despite the State Higher Education Department writing to the university advising them not to take the risk. The university's Vice-chancellor Fr Abraham had told TOI recently, "We have not received the letter. I have only seen it on social media. However, it's only an advisory note and the state government cannot mandate as we are not under their purview." He asserted that the response to the online exams was 96.3%.
The pandemic was unprecedented, and the university had postponed the exams which were scheduled for March. Now, however, students have taken matters in a legal direction. The student body has written to the Chief Justice of Karnataka Abhay Shreeniwas Oka seeking urgent intervention.
The letter also states that the University has also sidelined UGC's mandate:
"Although the university is only bound by the UGC, by virtue of the non-obstinate clause mentioned within the latest guidelines, issued by the UGC, read with the advisory fo the State Government, the university is bound to follow the advise given by the State Government."
The letter asserts that the university has not given an 'option' to undertake the exam. The letter says that many students' batchmates and family members have also tested positive for COVID-19 making matters worse. The university has already completed 3 of the 6 exams scheduled.
However, there is yet to be action taken on the matter. While universities suggest online exams as a means to fill the gap in education during a pandemic, many students in India face an infrastructural issue of poor connectivity and external pressures making both preparing and writing the exam that much harder. Perhaps there is a middle ground on the matter that justice could answer to.
Further details on the matter and Chief Justice's response to the letter are awaited.