Despite the government’s advice and students’ opposition amidst an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru, Christ University is continuing with the semester online exams. After student protests outside the university’s central campus, the Karnataka State Higher Education department has written a letter to Christ University advising them not to conduct examinations for intermediate semesters/years.
Citing another order issued by the Karnataka State Higher Education Department, the students had previously made several representations to the university urging for cancellation of examinations and direct promotion barring the final year students who required sitting for the examinations. Christ University, on the other hand, says that they follow the UGC guidelines and thus are not bound to follow the cited orders. Christ University Vice-Chancellor Father Abraham told the media that 94.47% students had registered to write the online examination, thus they can be assumed to have agreed with the online mode. However, an internal poll conducted by the students says otherwise; 90% of around 2,000 students who took part in the poll have opined that the online examination should be cancelled and the students should be provisionally passed based on internal marks.
A source informed Gauri Lankesh News that an email sent by the office of Controller of Examination, Prof. Johny Joseph, to the faculties on 15th July 2020 stated that there has been “numerous complaints received from students” regarding the examination process. The email lists that the students did not receive replies to their queries in time and that there was confusion regarding some of the rules and instructions, “causing inconvenience to students even leading to withdrawal of exam”.
It had earlier been reported by students that uploading the answer sheet on Mettl (the online platform used by the institute for exams) is stressful due to connectivity issues. Moreover, they say that an extra charge of Rs. 500 was extracted besides the examination fees paid earlier for installation of the new online examination system. However, no specific arrangements have been made by the University to ensure that all students have access to steady internet connectivity or a system for writing the exams.
The students did not anticipate such a long stay at home and hence, most of them left their study materials and books behind. A student reported, “We have been studying for six new subjects for the past two weeks. We gave tests for that too. Now we have to study for subjects that we learned way back in March. But if we don’t appear now, we’ll have to appear in the middle of a new semester without any preparatory leave. The University is not giving us any choice.”
While the institute says that in case of any “serious issues” the student can withdraw from the exam and take the test later, the students argue that since 70% of the grade point average has already been evaluated, the institute can take that into consideration and not drag them through stress and anxiety for the rest 30%.