Hold exams in the online mode: MBBS students urge Maharashtra govt
Less than three weeks before their exams are scheduled to take place in offline mode, second- and third-year medical, dental and para-medical students are demanding that the upcoming exams be held online.
In a series of online petitions and letters addressed to the state government as well as officials at the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), students have highlighted that offline exams could prove dangerous for staff as well as students who will participate in the examination process.
These demands come days after state medical education minister Amit Deshmukh announced that the long-pending winter examination session for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses will be held between June 10 and 30.
“These exams have been postponed three times already because it was not feasible to hold an offline exam for 6,000-8,000 students at the time when the state is grappling with a pandemic. The situation hasn’t changed still, then how is the state planning to conduct physical exams in June?” asked a student, requesting anonymity. He added that time and again, students have highlighted the need for these exams to be conducted in the online mode, but the authorities have not paid heed.
Second- and third-year MBBS exams, which usually take place in December-January, were postponed three times this year due to the rising Covid-19 cases recorded across the state. At first the exams were postponed to February from January, and then to April. However due to the second wave of Covid-19 gripping the nation, these exams were once again postponed to first week of June by the state government.
“Many students are presently in their hometowns, away from the college campus, because all lectures were being held online this academic year. In order to appear for exams in the physical form, we will all have to travel to our college, share hostel rooms with at least three other students and share bathrooms as well. What guarantee does the state or university give us that we will not contract the virus,” asked another student.
In a letter marked to MUHS officials, students highlighted how at present, at least 3,000 students across MUHS-affiliated institutes have tested positive for Covid-19, or have a close family member fighting for their lives. Conducting exams in the offline mode in such times could make the situation worse, students said.
“All affiliated institutes have already started ensuring that safety measures are implemented during exams as well as at the hostels. Taking exams online will be difficult for several students and therefore exams will be conducted in offline mode,” said an official from MUHS.
In a previous circular, the National Medical Commission (NMC) had clarified that in case students are unable to appear for their MBBS exams due to their health status or travel restrictions, those students be given the chance to appear for these papers at a later date by the examination authority.