MBBS students can travel by Mumbai local trains to appear for final exams
Mumbai’s suburban trains will ferry undergraduate medical students who are slated to appear for their final year MBBS summer theory and practical examinations from Tuesday.
The decision follows a request by the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), less than 24 hours before the exam, seeking permission to allow MBBS students to travel by trains during exams. The exams will end on October 1.
“As per request received from CoE (Controller of Examinations) of MUHS, the exam hall ticket of candidates appearing for the summer 2020 final exams will be considered as authority to enter stations along with a guardian (parent/guardian). Station security officials have been instructed suitably to allow students on the exam days and additional booking counters will be opened at important railway stations,” said Sumit Thakur, CPRO, Western Railway.
He, however, appealed to the students to not rush into railway stations and at the same time also follow medical and social protocols as mandated for Covid-19.
Students and parents however said the letter dated August 7 signed by Dr Ajit Pathak, CoE, MUHS, addressed to divisional railway manager, Mumbai Central, is a little late in the day.
MBBS and BDS students along with post graduate medical students have been at loggerheads with MUHS for the past few months over its insistence on physical examinations at a time when Maharashtra is witnessing increasing Covid-19 cases.
Many MBBS students have also previously approached the MUHS with requests of postponing the exam especially since most final year MBBS students have been working on the frontline at all government hospitals for the past few months, leaving them with very little time to prepare for their exams. They are also worried about safety precautions that will be undertaken at the 250-odd exam centres spread across the state.
After initially seeking postponement of examinations and insurance cover for students as well as their families, students finally approached the judiciary seeking that exams that were initially scheduled to take place between July and August be deferred.
“We are talking about the lives and safety of over 9,500 students in the state, and their respective families who could be exposed to the deadly virus. While we understand examination is important, what we don’t appreciate is the insistence on holding physical exams at a time when Covid-19 cases are at a peak,” said the parent of one of the MBBS students.
On Monday, the Bombay high court refused to entertain a petition filed by nine MBBS students to stay final year examinations. Recently, the Supreme Court of India also dismissed a petition to postpone all India entrance exams including Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) following which the JEE Mains exams were conducted across the country from September 1 and 6.
“We’ve heard that the JEE exams were conducted very professionally but our worry is that the MUHS is not as well prepared for this exam, which automatically endangers our lives,” said a student on condition of anonymity.