ITANAGAR, July 19 - Taking strong exception to the decision of University Grants Commission to conduct final year examinations before September 30, the State�s apex students� body All Arunachal Pradesh Students� Union (AAPSU) today appealed to the HRD Ministry and the UGC to cancel terminal examinations for end-semester students in the State in view of the prevailing COVID-19 crisis.
The UGC, in its latest guidelines, said the universities must conduct their final year/final semester exams before September 30 which can be held either online or offline, or using a combination of both.
In a representation sent to the Union Human Resource Development Minister, the AAPSU said the UGC decision has led to confusion and chaos among the parents, teachers and other stakeholders.
�Most of the final semester students from Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), Doimukh and colleges affiliated to it in the State are not ready to take exams due to fear of the COVID-19 pandemic,� the representation said.
Further, the months-long lockdown, including the ongoing one at Itanagar Capital Complex which also includes Doimukh where the State�s lone Central University is located, has severely affected the mental and emotional well-being of the students. The same was conveyed to the AAPSU by the Rajiv Gandhi University Students� Union (RGUSU),� it said.
AAPSU further stated that other State Universities and institutions in Arunachal Pradesh are also unsure about the exams and many of the students studying in these universities are �against the move of the MHRD and UGC to forcibly push for exams during such a serious health crisis which has affected the entire nation�.
Stating that �the challenges in a frontier and topographically diverse region like ours are manifold�, AAPSU said, �We genuinely feel that the concept of online or offline mode of examination is not possible in our State due to the prevailing conditions, including the great digital divide and the serious risks posed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.� It also cited that the intermediate semester exams have been cancelled and the students have been promoted to the next class.
Further, the recent landslides, floods and other natural calamities in Arunachal Pradesh have cut off surface and digital communication in many districts of the State. Further, many parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam are currently under lockdown. It will be almost impossible for the students to make it to the university,� the AAPSU said in support of its demand.
The union is also skeptical about the safety and security measures to be put in place for the students, and the teachers as well, if they are compelled to appear for the exams.
�The hardships people continue to face due to the pandemic are very much unprecedented and cannot be measured. While many of the offices, schools, factories, public places, etc., are closed, we don�t find any merit in conducting exams for the final semester students in the universities,� it said. At present, many of the students are at their native places due to lockdown restrictions.