The Supreme Court’s verdict on universities requiring to conduct final year exams for graduates and postgraduates has led Madras University and others in the country to identify innovative techniques to be able to conduct the exams amidst this full-blown coronavirus pandemic. More than 50 city colleges affiliated to Madras University are still functioning as COVID-19 cares and quarantine centres administrate are looking to find flexibility in the manner in which these exams will be conducted..
The Tamil Nadu government is said to be making arrangements so that students can physically appear for the exams in the traditional manner, said higher education minister K P Anbalagan, on Tuesday. This hasn’t been received well by many colleges who have students hailing from other states and in some cases from different countries as well.
“We are not sure whether parents within Tamil Nadu would send their kids to campuses to write the exam,” said Thomas Amirtham, principal of Loyola College. “We have asked the university to give students the choice to take exams online as well. Those who cannot take exams online can sit for them offline. It would reduce the number of students visiting campuses and help us maintain social distancing.”
Students, too, expressed concerns against the need for them to appear for physical exams in the conventional model. Their concerns are generally regarding accommodation problems since most of them have already vacated their living spaces before leaving the city and finding accommodation now is a hassle.
For instance, Madras Christian College has requested their university to allow them to have the exams in the dual-mode since almost 21 per cent of its students are not from Tamil Nadu. The University of Madras has responded by saying that they are working on suggestions that they can recommend to the government for conducting the final year exams. Vice-chancellor S Gowri, when asked when these pen and paper exams will be held, said that they are waiting for the state to issue guidelines regarding the matter.
“Students are already appearing for online classes and online exams would be easier for them. Bringing students to campuses is not ideal given the prevailing situation,” said K Maran, director of Sri Sairam Engineering College. Many engineering colleges in the city are also saying that dual modes of examinations should be permitted for convenience for students and will help maintain the norms of the pandemic, creating a safer environment. However, B Chidambararajan, principal of Valliammai Engineering College, is one of the few colleges who agree that the traditional method of examination is the best mode because good internet connectivity might pose an issue for online mode of examinations.