Medical exams begin in Maharashtra amid opposition from students
The second and third year exams for medical, dental and diploma courses for undergraduate students in Maharashtra started nearly six months behind schedule on Thursday, with nearly 40,000 students expected to physically write the exams at designated centres between June 10 and 30.
“As if the pandemic was not enough, incessant rains across several districts of Maharashtra, have affected basic travel facilities available to the students. However, our state government is insistent on conducting these exams in the offline mode, putting thousands of lives at risk,” said a student on condition of anonymity.
For the past few days, many students have taken to social media sites to share their anger and fear and alleged they were being “forced” to appear for exams in the offline mode despite Maharashtra still registering some of the highest numbers of Covid-19 cases in the country daily.
“Students share hostel rooms and bathrooms, which is leading to greater fear of [the infection spreading] among the students. While the examination authorities are insisting on safety protocols at the examination centres, no one is demanding the same at hostels where students are staying and this could lead to chaos,” claimed another student.
Usually scheduled in the month of December-January, the second and third year MBBS, BDS, and other para medical and certificate course exams were postponed three times this year due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases recorded across the state. The papers were last postponed from April to June.
Last week, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court heard a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by HERD Educational and Medical Research Foundation, a Nagpur-based NGO and a physiotherapy student Nitesh Dhanraj Tantarpale.
The plea requested that the court order the state to either conduct examinations online or vaccinate nearly 40,000 undergraduates before holding the exams in the physical mode.
Refusing to give interim relief from the upcoming winter session examinations, the court, however, directed the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) to issue an advisory to principals of various medical colleges across the state that it would be desirable that examinees produce a negative RT-PCR report along with the hall ticket when the examinations begin on June 10.