TED NewsDesk, Pune: The state government and authorities at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) haven’t yet come up with a final direction on conducting final year degree exams. Amid the growing confusion among students, a letter, jointly signed by a dozen Senate members and educationists was sent to the VC of the institution. It has recommended an offline-online exam pattern for professional and non-professional courses along with an exam schedule.
This letter addressed to SPPU Vice-Chancellor Dr Nitin Karmalkar states that after the Supreme Court mandated that final year degree examinations would have to be conducted as per directives from the University Grants Commission (UGC). A state-level committee has also been set up to study how exams can be conducted.
The letter was signed by the Senate’s senior members and educationists, including Gajanan Ekbote, Shamkant Deshmukh, Sanjay Kharat, Santosh Dhore, Dadabhau Shinalkar, Bhagyashree Manthalkar, among others.
As per media reports, an online exam mode is probably under consideration, in which students can appear from their homes. However, with the international ranking of SPPU and other factors in mind, Senate members have suggested some key measures:
- Exams of professional courses should be conducted online.
- Exams of non-professional or traditional courses should be conducted offline.
These primary suggestions were made keeping in mind various factors, with the main one being that only roughly 40% of students would have access to laptops, personal computers or smartphones
“Many students come from rural pockets and low-income families. Some of them are first-generation learners. Their parents have lost their jobs or small businesses have incurred heavy losses owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. It would be wrong to assume that students would have access to technology and gadgets to appear for these online exams or even the money to ensure high-speed internet or WiFi connections,” the letter stated.
Senate members also mentioned that students have returned to their villages. Out of the 2.3 lakh degree students in the final year, many live in remote and tribal areas where power failure is common. Considering all these points, Senate members have requested that the exams should be conducted offline at centres close to the diverse home-towns and villages of students and that the number of centres should also be increased. They also insist that the exams should be of 50 marks, with multiple-choice questions and time duration of an hour, while students should be called in three batches.
All guidelines should be followed, including maintaining a distance of two benches between each student, along with mandatory use of masks and sanitisers by students, invigilators and other staff at the exam centres, the letter further mentioned.
The students have little option but to persevere because the raging pandemic is going nowhere anytime soon. With the Senate and Educationalists looking out for them at SPPU, perhaps the struggle will not be enormous.