Colleges and students wait impatiently as University Grants Commission and Mumbai University delay the decision regarding pending final year exams.
The sluggishness of the University Grants Commission and the University of Mumbai to take a decision regarding the conduct of exams have put the final year students in a fix. Final year batches of both undergraduate and post graduate courses of the University are stuck in vacuum as colleges make formulas to pass and promote the other batches.
To be or not to be, that is the question!
In May 2020, Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education Ministry had already made it clear that only final year students would be appearing for exams while the other junior batches would be promoted on the basis of internal assessments. These exams were to be conducted between July 1 to July 30. However, as the city of Mumbai deals with an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus cases everyday, and new zones being added to the list of containment zones, the feasibility to conduct exams diminishes everyday. The Government of Maharashtra has time and again highlighted this issue, yet several disputes with the Governor and extended silence of the UGC and the MU has led to a lot of confusion regarding the exams of the exit batch.
The University had long ruled out the possibility of conducting online exams due to lack of digital infrastructure. Mumbai University is considered as one of the largest universities in the country with more than 700 affiliated government and autonomous colleges under its wings. To ensure the availability of decent network and resources for so many students is a nightmare in itself. To add to this, the tardiness of the UGC and the MU to come with an effective solution to solve the woes of the final year batch has only resulted in distress and impatience among them. "During such a chaotic time, I think we all understand that things aren't in our control. Having said that, it's unfair to us, students, to not be given any final decision on this situation." said Dhruvi Manawat, a final year student from a college in Airoli.
From issues like applying for higher education to that of jobs, the lives of many students have to come to a screeching halt. While speaking to Knocksense, final year student Pareesha Vajani said, ''The UGC's lack of priority towards coming to a decision regarding the exams has brought an entire batch of students to a standstill with regards to their future. Students don't know whether they've graduated or not and are unable to to decide whether to apply for jobs or wait for any upcoming exams."
The uncertainty of the decision and its delayed announcement has led the student body to reach out to the UGC and MU, as individuals as well as colleges, asking for a decision and clarity with promptness. "It is crystal clear the conditions now and for the foreseeable future are not conducive for any kind of exams. Rather than waiting out the storm, they must act now. They have to decide now, the future of lakhs of final years students can't hang in balance for so long.", said Samit Sharma, final year student from a college in South Bombay. Adding on to this, Shriteja Salunkepati, student from Mulund said, "We students can't take risk of our life's through large gatherings. We are worried. We have been waiting for government's decision of cancelling the final year exams but not anymore. I would definitely request some clarity"
While some students are anxious over the delay, there are others who oppose the idea of exams in the month of July and that too in a pandemic, "It is beyond me how the college thinks that they can stall us for more than 3 months. If not promoting us, what options do they have? Is it going to be possible for them to call hundreds of students from all parts of the city, gather them in one place during the monsoon month in a city prone to flooding and conduct examination while guaranteeing that none of us will contract the coronavirus? If not, then they should promote us this instant. There are no two ways about it.", said Siddhant Sanghvi, a final year student from a college in South Bombay.
The uncertainty and vagueness of the situation is weaving its way as anxiety and frustration in students of the Batch of 2020. While the private universities in the city have either cancelled their exams or conducted them/ have plans to conduct them online, the faith of University students have been hung out to dry.