RGUSU to join nationwide protest on Monday
RONO HILLS, Jul 26: The Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) authorities have decided to conduct online examinations in September, as suggested by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Stating that RGU is “very much concerned about the future as well as health of the students during this pandemic,” the university’s authorities noted that calling students to the campus to appear for the examinations is “not feasible as arrangement of home quarantine for large number of students is not possible,” and decided to give students a month’s time to prepare for the final semester/year examinations.
“There is more than one month time for preparation. In this regard, if any student missed to attend the online examination, he/she will be provided the chance to appear in the special examination that shall be arranged by the RGU as per UGC guidelines,” it said.
Also responding to the concerns raised by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union, the North East Students’ Organization and the Rajiv Gandhi University Students’ Union (RGUSU), the RGU authorities said they are in touch with the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) and the UGC regarding the inconveniences in this regard.
They said that RGU is obligated to abide by the guidelines of the national statutory bodies, and as a central university, if it violates the MHRD and UGC guidelines and fails to conduct the examinations as directed, the certificates shall not be recognized.
“The students will have to face the validity of their degrees,” RGU said.
In the UGC press release of 18 July, UGC Secretary Prof Rajnish Jain had emphasized that “examination is an integral part of the education system and is a measure to evaluate the students’ learning, knowledge, skills and other competencies. The performance in examinations contributes to merit, lifelong credibility and wider global acceptability for admissions, scholarships, awards, placements, and better future prospects.”
Accordingly, the universities were required to chart out a plan for completion of terminal semester/final year examinations by the end of September, in offline (pen and paper)/online/blended (online + offline) mode, following the prescribed protocols/guidelines related to the Covid-19 pandemic vetted by the experts of the union health & family welfare ministry.
The UGC also suggested that if the students fail to appear for said examinations for whatsoever the reason(s) may be, “he/she shall be provided an opportunity to appear in special examinations for such course(s)/paper(s), which may be conducted by the university as and when feasible, so that the student is not put in any inconvenience/disadvantage.”
The UGC has also communicated the standard operating procedure for conducting the examinations as suggested by the MHRD.
“Out of the 755 universities in India, 194 universities have conducted the examination and 366 universities are planning to conduct the same,” RGU informed.
The RGU authorities appealed to the students, parents and teachers to cooperate with the university in this time of serious health crisis.
“We have already delayed much; the future is still uncertain, the situation of Covid-19 pandemic may become worse in future. Let us not wait further to avoid future repentance,” it said.
RGUSU against UGC decision
Meanwhile, the RGUSU has decided to join a nationwide protest across social media platforms on Monday against the decision of the MHRD and UGC, wherein students from all across the country are expected to demand scrapping of the UGC’s revised guidelines on term-end exams.
Student representatives of RGU-affiliated colleges pledged their support to the RGUSU in taking up the cause of boycotting the examinations for “the better cause of the student fraternity in particular and the teachers and the staffs too, from being exposed to Covid-19 if exams were to be conducted.”
The RGUSU assured the student community that it would “fight tooth and nail to scrap the examination and to secure the students from action by the authorities for not filling the form and boycotting the exams.”
While the colleges stand firm on complete scrapping of the pen-and-paper examinations as “it would make students more vulnerable to the virus,” they also strongly opposed the idea of online examination, in view of “the poor internet connection in different areas of the capital and the state as a whole.”
While they said that a feasible online mode of exam would be welcomed, the students asked the authorities to consider that most colleges “did not even see 20 percent of the syllabus being covered.”
“How can the UGC and RGU expect us to appear for the exams, be it in online or offline mode?” said a student.
RGUSU president Dopum Sonam informed this daily that it is yet to get a response from the state government in the matter. The union appealed to the state government to convene a meeting with all stakeholders, and convey the ground realities of poor connectivity, travel restrictions and natural calamities in the state to the UGC.
Sonam reiterated that RGU should consider passing the final semester/year students based on the marks they obtained in the previous semesters.
The All India Students’ Association has also extended support to the RGUSU’s demand, and is campaigning against the 6 July UGC notification mandating examinations amid the pandemic.