The Corona Virus pandemic has brought the entire education system of India to a stand-still. Crucial exams – both academic and competitive, had been put on an indefinite hold until recently when the UGC decided to conduct and wrap up examinations by the end of September, 2020. The decision, however, has been challenged in court. In the case of JEE and NEET as well, the Supreme Court ruled to conduct examinations at the said time in concurrence with the HRD Ministry’s decision, citing that it could not afford to put students’ careers at risk.
However, final semester B.Ed. students from Assam University claim that the decision taken by the University in accordance with UGC guidelines to conduct their exams in September might actually put their safety in peril and also deprive them of certain employment opportunities. Following the UGC guidelines to compulsorily conduct final semester examinations in September, Assam University issued a notification for B.Ed. students stating that the final semester examinations for B.Ed. would be tentatively held in September – in blended mode. This essentially means the said examinations will be conducted offline. As per the notification, on each day of the examination, ten students shall appear for the practical/viva voce for all papers/subjects. In case a student is unable to appear for this examination, he/she can appear for a special examination that will be conducted by the University as and when feasible. On the contrary, Dibrugarh University and Tezpur University have decided to conduct their B.Ed. final semester examinations online.
Concerned B.Ed. final year students claim that they have already missed the window to apply for posts in Upper Primary and Lower Primary Schools because of the postponement of examinations and now stand the chance of losing out on the opportunity to apply for posts in High Schools as well – the application process for which is likely to start in September, as announced by the Education Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma. Students say that – had there been no pandemic and the consequent delay of exams, they would have been able to apply for these jobs. Memorandums signed by hundreds of students have already been submitted to the Vice Chancellor of Assam University, yet a response from the University’s end is still awaited.
Students have urged the University to either conduct the examinations online or to reformat the examination plan so that it can be concluded sooner. They particularly insist on the declaration of results within 7-10 days of the conclusion of the examination so that they can avail the employment opportunities that lie ahead, especially in the near future. In fact, certain students close to the age limit stand the risk of being rendered ineligible to apply ever again if results are delayed any further. It must be added that Assam University has a bad reputation for extended delays in declaration of examination results.
On Thursday evening, these students took to Twitter en masse to draw the attention of the Education Minister of Assam towards their concerns. A petition explaining these concerns has also been submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development.