Maharashtra: Medical exams begin amid opposition
Nearly six months after exams were originally scheduled to take place, undergraduate second- and third-year medical, dental and diploma course exams commenced across colleges in the state on Thursday. Nearly 40,000 students will be appearing for their winter session exams in the physical mode between June 10 and 30 across Maharashtra.
Officials from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) confirmed that exams were conducted without any trouble. According to information shared by MUHS, of the 12,242 students supposed to appear for the theory exam on Thursday, 11,771 were present. While 35 students remained absent due to their Covid positive status, 12 students were sent back due to lack of RT-PCR test report. Around 424 students remained absent without any intimation.
“The exam centres strictly followed sanitisation and social distancing rules and we had to produce a negative RT-PCR test at the time of entry. Our worry is going back to hostels where we will be sharing rooms and bathrooms with other students in close proximity,” said a student who appeared for her paper in Sangli.
For the past few days, students have taken to social media sites to share their anger and fear of being “forced” to appear for exams in the physical mode despite Maharashtra still registering some of the highest numbers of Covid-19 cases in the country.
“As if the pandemic was not enough, incessant rains across several districts of Maharashtra affected basic travel for students at present. However, our state government seems insistent on conducting these exams in the offline mode, putting thousands of lives at risk,” said s student on condition of anonymity.
Usually scheduled to take place in December-January, second- and third-year MBBS, BDS, and other paramedical and certificate course exams were postponed three times this year due to rising Covid-19 cases recorded across the state.
Last week, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court (HC) heard a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by HERD Educational and Medical Research Foundation, a Nagpur-based NGO, and physiotherapy student Nitesh Dhanraj Tantarpale requesting either online examinations or vaccination for nearly 40,000 undergraduates before the exams.
Refusing to give interim relief from the upcoming winter session examinations, the court had directed MUHS to issue an advisory to principals of various medical colleges across the state and also to publish on its website indicating that it would be desirable that examinees should have themselves tested for Covid-19 and produce a negative RT-PCR report along with the hall ticket.