Exam Dates Announced by AKU Amidst Rising COVID-19 Cases Displease Medics
Graduate physicians in Bihar are up in arms over the decision of the state to conduct examinations in the midst of a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Aryabhatta Knowledge University (AKU), which is responsible for technical, medical, management and allied vocational education in Bihar, has decided to conduct the second professional MBBS examination, 2019, from July 28, 2020 to August 31, 2020.
In accordance with the university decision, which was uploaded to its portal on June 13, 2020 the Principals of Medical Colleges in Bihar communicated the dates for filling out the examination forms to the students.
The decision of the AKU did not go well with the physicians, especially when some other states, such as the neighboring Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, have already postponed the second professional MBBS "till further orders" examination.
"Barring MBBS and dental, the AKU has also postponed the examinations and decided to encourage all students of B.Tech, B.Pharma, BBA, B.Com and BMC to attend the next semester," said Kritika Singh, a second year MBBS student at the Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), currently stuck in Delhi.
The students have now written to the Indian Medical Council (MCI) requesting that the second professional MBBS exams be canceled and promoted to the next semester on the basis of the marks obtained in the previous year. Copies were made to the Governor-Cum-Chancellor of Universities in Bihar, Chief Minister, Health Minister and AKU Vice-Chancellor.
The aggrieved students, who met Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on Thursday, argued that many of them are currently outside the state, some even living in containment zones and traveling back to the Covid exams, were risky.
Doctors also talked about sanitation issues at the hostels, where they have a common mess and washroom.
"Additional to our concerns is that one of our seniors tested Covid positive during the 2015 supplementary test batch that the AKU recently carried out, forcing other examinations to go into quarantine," Critica said.
However, AKU Audit Controller Rajeev Ranjan said, "We are considering the complaints received from the students. The AKU Review Board is likely to take a decision next week.
"At the beginning of this month, when we decided to hold the examinations, the Covid cases were not as high as they are today (Bihar reported 8,678 Covid-19 cases with 56 deaths until this report was filed). We referred the matter to our examination board, "he added.
However, Ranjan made it clear that the university could at most postpone the examinations. "Any decision to cancel the exams and encourage students to attend the next semester can only be taken by the MCI," he added.
Nine medical colleges in Bihar, including eight government institutions, are part of the AKU.
A UGC committee had also recently recommended to the central government for cancelling examinations for final year students in universities and institutes of higher education across India and evaluating them based on the previous semester examinations and internal assessments.