Student Organizations, AISA and SFI, demand the cancellation of the even semester exams considering the current situation of the COVID-19 surge across the nation.
On Saturday, 24th April 2021, All India Student Association (AISA) of Delhi University wrote to the Vice-Chancellor, PC Joshi, demanding the cancellation of exams amidst the COVID-19 crises. Similarly, on Sunday, April 25, 2021, the Student’s Federation of India (SFI), Delhi University, issued a release demanding immediate postponement of even semester examinations for all students of the university.
In the respective letter, AISA listed that the frightening COVID-19 surge has surrounded the whole nation, including the National Capital Region, alleging that it is inhumane on the part of the University Administration to hold examinations at such unrestrained times, where many students of the varsity are also risking their lives and volunteering for collective action.
On 19th April, as India lost 1761 people to Covid, the University of Delhi came out with notification of online exams. Does the administration think that there can be no family members, relatives, friends or even students of DU themselves stranded in this crisis? Does the administration not realize that conducting exams in this atmosphere shall take a toll on not just the mental health, but even on the lives and future of students? Can the largest university of the country not devise any alternate mode of assessment or can it not cancel the exams and pass the students one semester?
– AISA, in its letter to the VC
The Letter also itemized the Online education elitism, adding, “Online exams, as a survey by AISA showed last year, remains exclusionary to the vast majority of students. Students suffer a lack of connection, resources and time for studies. Women students suffer more due to the responsibility of home chores. The mental health of young people has taken an enormous dive, any survey would tell you. Online exams in essence remain an elitist, casteist and sexist practice.”
In the end, AISA made a collective appeal to the university administration that the University of Delhi should cancel all examinations, taking into account the lives and future of the Varsity students as their primary stakeholders.
Abhigyan, student activist of AISA, while talking to DU Beat stated, “We had a lot of students who were coming up to us saying that exams should not be held in the current COVID-19 crisis. Also, the student community has had the first-hand experience with the online exams being exclusive and it’s not the fact that we are opposing the online exams now, the AISA before was also actively protesting against the respective online exams.
– Abhigyan, a Student Activist, in conversation with DU Beat
“We need to consider the resource and the technological gap in the paradigm of online exams. The alienation is worst on the part of the women students, who now are also engaged with their domestic household chores in this lockdown. Plus, in such grave times, where you know that majority of the household is suffering from COVID-19 cases and the experts project that during the mid-May the crisis would be at its peak, the University holding its exams is shocking and a sadistic step by the University,” added Abhigyan.
Another AISA student activist, Swali Prakash, told the DU Beat, “We are in the middle of a tsunami-like Pandemic situation and in no way the students are mentally prepared for the Examinations in this chaotic environment. The decision of the University to hold the examinations is completely wrong, therefore we demand the University either to postpone the exams or to properly cancel them.”
The second wave of the Covid-19 contagion and the catastrophic healthcare crisis has endangered the lives of millions of Indians. With an acute shortage of oxygen, hospital beds and necessary drugs to fight the disease, the country is facing its worst humanitarian crisis. Lockdowns and other combative measures have resulted in millions losing their livelihood, thereby creating an acute economic crisis. The students have been bearing the brunt of the pandemic, with their campuses closed down for over a year. Online education has caused a significant section of the student population to drop out of the system.
– Press Release by SFI
The release also mentioned that the university should immediately announce a fee waiver as the constituent departments are not working in their previous capacities and students are deprived of most of all the facilities including the library, college WIFI and other infrastructure. Appealing, in the end, the SFI release specified that all efforts should be taken by the university to put in place a comprehensive plan to address the concerns of the students during the pandemic.
A lot of students of Delhi University and their families are currently affected by the disease, lost their near and dear ones to the Virus and a lot more are facing deplorable mental health conditions. It is not conducive for students to take examinations at this critical juncture, given the crumbling situation of their families and friends.
– Akhil KM the Convenor of SFI DU while talking to DU Beat
“We urge the Delhi University administration to immediately announce the postponement of all examinations and disburse valuable monetary assistance to help all students in this hour of distress. We have previously also pointed out that the collection of entire fee amount during the pandemic is inhumane from the side of the university as the students are facing economic issues,” added Akhil while speaking to DU Beat.
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