Graduate students from several colleges joined the protest against the choice to carry sixth-semester exam, claiming that it'll compromise their health during the unprecedented crisis unleashed by the novel coronavirus.
On Monday, students of Utkal University, Rama Devi Women's University, Ravenshaw University and other institutes protested outside their respective campuses to make authorities hear their voice. The students demanded alternative methods to the offline exam process.
Sourav Kumar Kar, a Plus III final year student of Utkal University, said the university authorities and therefore the government should understand the gravity of the general public health situation before going ahead with the ultimate semester exam across the state.
"If the govt can promote second and fourth-semester students, why is it not doing the same for the sixth-semester students? It'll be easy for the authorities to calculate the typical marks of the last five semesters and add it into the ultimate semester papers," said Kar, who was among a group of six Plus III students who staged a protest in front of Utkal University main gate demanding the cancellation of the exam.
Utkal University on Monday issued a notification for the sixth-semester exam. As per schedule, practical tests are going to be conducted between July 7-13, 2020 while theory papers are going to be held between July 14-23, 2020. Projects can be submitted by July 28, 2020.
Students of Rama Devi Women's University had been protesting against the exam for a while. On Monday, they once again staged a demonstration in front of the university. They sat on a dharna in front of the university gate and asked senior professors and officials to form alternative arrangements to market students.
"Many students stay outside the state. Some are in containment zones. Besides, we've dim-sighted students who will need writers to help them. How will they maintain social distance while appearing for the exam?" asked Shristi Ray Choudhury, a final year student.
The university has shifted the exam dates from June 25, 2020 to the second week of July, 2020. "The government has taken the choice to carry the exam. We cannot change the choice," Rama Devi Women's University vice-chancellor Padmaja Mishra said.
Ravenshaw University students submitted a memorandum to the vice-chancellor to cancel the examination. "Several students of business administration need their certificates by end of July to hitch work. But it's not feasible to carry the exams, either online or offline, during this situation," said Mohammad Mushahid Khan, a final year student.
Asoka Kumar Das, vice-chairman of Odisha State education Council, said, "For the govt, the priority is that the students' health and their career. All possibilities are being considered to stay these aspects in mind. Students shouldn't worry."
Educationist Prasanna Kumar Mohanty said the government should attend to the plea of students. "The risk of contracting Covid-19 is extremely much there. Students fear they'll contract the virus while appearing for the exam and that they cannot be faulted for this. we will use alternative methods to evaluate students' grades rather than holding exams. the schools can promote students considering their performance within the last five semesters," Mohanty said.