Students from a total of 42 prestigious colleges in Karnataka boycotted classes and demanded that the government cancel exams for their previous semester.
To reinforce their agitation for the cancellation of exams, students in Karnataka, graduate, postgraduate, engineering, graduate and pharmacy students boycotted their online courses on Saturday. Students from a total of 42 prestigious colleges boycotted the classes, including institutions such as the APS College of Commerce, the Atria Institute, the University Vishveswaraya College of Engineering, Brindavan, the APS Polytechnic, the SJ Polytechnic, Vidyavardhaka Sangha in Bengaluru, according to the All India Democratic Students’ organization (AIDSO) leading the movement. In addition, AIDSO said the total number of boycotted institutions, including smaller institutions, is over 100. Students on these courses request that the government cancel exams for their previous or odd semester. In addition, they are demanding that the government provide students with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge before taking offline classes or exams.
Currently, the students of these courses are confronted with the situation that they have to write the exams for two semesters within a very short time. This difficult circumstance arose when, on April 27, when Karnataka was closed, the odd semester exams of several universities were to be held. Since possible physical examinations were excluded due to the lockdown, classes were started for the next or even semester. After Karnataka began easing restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister CN Ashwath Narayana announced that exams would be held for these students. “Semester exams need to be taken soon and VCs are planning this,” he tweeted.
Semester exams need to be taken soon and VCs plan to do so. We are planning to organize evening schools in large cities and are examining the possibility of introducing interdisciplinary programs at some of the VTU universities. Striving for excellence and quality with social awareness should be our goal.
– Dr. Ashwathnarayan CN (@drashwathcn) June 15, 2021
The agitation has been going on for 10 days with students using various protest methods. They had initially protested on June 23 with the two demands. Receiving no response from the government, they presented memoranda to several lawmakers, including Minister of Finance R. Ashoka and Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Suresh Kumar.
In addition, the Student Combat Committee and AIDSO had organized a webinar in which several education experts and former Vice Chancellors (VC) spoke, including Dr. Prabhudev (former VC of Bangalore University) and Dr. Chidananda (former VC of Kuvempu University). All speakers emphasized the importance of having all students fully vaccinated before taking physical classes or exams. They also unanimously agreed that conducting exams in the circumstances is not a good idea. Dr. Prabhudev said, “In the current situation, taking exams is not only a threat to the lives of students, but also an invitation to the third wave.”
Several students TNM spoke to also raised concerns that they could attend physical education classes without receiving both doses of the vaccine. “We saw people die when the second wave hit. We are definitely not ready to risk our lives for these trials. In addition, first-year graduate students are under 18 years old and many will not get the vaccine. Even for those eligible, we haven’t even heard if there will be a vaccination campaign from our college and honestly, given the vaccine shortages everywhere, I think we will be foolish to believe that they will vaccinate us will be in the timeframe they have promised, ”said Arya (name changed upon request), a graduate student at Dayananda Sagar Polytechnic College in Bengaluru.
Girish, a graduate student from Chikkaballapur, said, “They ran a vaccination campaign in our college, but most of the students had to come from distant villages and there was no real bus service. What should they do?”
When asked what difficulties they would have in writing two exams, Girish said, “Our even-numbered sections have not yet been completed and when they are finished and you specify an exam date for the odd-numbered semester, it will be no later than mid-August. And when we see when they started the even semester courses, it was May. The regular semester exam must therefore come around September, as the semesters were shortened due to the loss of time when the first wave began. Basically we have to write two exams within one month. How is that feasible? “
According to AIDSO, the online class boycott also met with a very good response in other districts of Karnataka. In a statement, they said: “Colleagues from Gulbarga University, Bellary Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Dharwad University and Bijapur University have witnessed a complete boycott of online courses.”
The statement further warned: “If the government and universities do not respond to our demands, we will be forced to step up our struggle.”
Also Read: Why Karnataka College Students Are Requesting Cancellation of Exams for Odd Semesters