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Mumbai: Students from autonomous colleges protest against offline exams

Updated on: 22 March,2022 09:04 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Anagha Sawant |

‘We also tried to solve the issue with ‘Gandhigiri’ by sending flowers and a ‘get well soon’ card to our college’s managing authorities,’ said a student from Mithibai College in Vile Parle

Mumbai: Students from autonomous colleges protest against offline exams

Students takes ‘Gandhigiri’ path, sent flowers and a ‘get well soon’ card to college’s authorities. Pic/Shobhit Mishra

Raising concerns over the disparity in the mode of exams conducted for the final year students, the students of autonomous colleges in Mumbai are campaigning against the offline exams, which will be conducted from this week.

While the Mumbai University (MU) students will get to write the online exams in multiple-choice question (MCQ) format, the students from autonomous colleges will have to appear for the long-form theory-based offline exams. The students fear this will affect their final year scores.

The students from autonomous colleges such as St. Xavier’s, Thakur, Jai Hind, Narsee Monjee (NMCCE) and Mithibai, if the syllabus and degree awarded by MU and their colleges are the same, then there should not be disparity in the mode exams are conducted.

A B.Com student from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, who will appear for the final year exam starting March 24, and did not wish to be named, says, “Even if our college is autonomous, we will be awarded a degree from MU. In that case, we want equal rights to appear for the exams online like the students of MU. We don’t have problem writing exams offline, but the students appearing for online exams (MCQ) will score better than students writing long-form theory answers in offline exams. We feel this is an injustice done to us. This will lead to disparity in final scores which will affect our future prospects.”

The students were earlier preparing for the offline exams. On March 4, after the MU announced that its final year summer examination will be held virtually, the students of several autonomous colleges raised objections against the offline exams in their colleges.

A 21-year-old, third-year student, adds, “While we raised our concerns with the college authority a few days after the MU announcement, they took a counselling session with students making us understand why the offline exams are conducted. They never heard our issues though. We were told ‘even if you score less, people will know that you are best’. It was just one-way communication.”

Another third-year student from NM College, on the condition of anonymity, says, “Around 40 student representatives attended the counselling session. We are concerned about the Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA) marks as we will be competing for higher studies and job opportunities with students who appeared for exams virtually and have scored better than us. After the students’ protest, now the college authorities are not approachable.”

Many students created Twitter accounts to bring the issue to the notice of the state government.

Shobhit Mishra, 20, a TYBSc student from Mithibai College, who will be appearing for his exam from March 26, says, “A formal letter has been submitted to the

Governor’s (Bhagat Singh Koshyari) office to seek his intervention. We are hoping to get a response and meet him. After getting no positive response from the college authorities, we also tried to solve the issue with ‘Gandhigiri’ by sending flowers and a ‘get well soon’ card to our college’s managing authorities. The college authorities don’t want to meet us. We have now installed banners outside the college on the disparity issue and our demands.”
Besides the youth wing of political parties supporting them, the students also met the state’s education minister Uday Samant last week to seek his intervention in the matter.

Students from Thakur College, too, had objected to an offline exam - the college authorities on March 21 reversed its decision and issued a new circular, announcing that the final year exams will be conducted virtually from March 28.

Speaking about the other difficulties faced by outstation students, an NM College student adds, “Accommodation is a major problem as students will have to come to Mumbai for a week just to appear for offline exams. To take PG accommodation, the students will have to give a one-month rent. Many students who don’t have any relatives in Mumbai will have to either search for PG accommodation or a hotel. Staying in a hotel room for a week is also not affordable. While the final year’s fee is around Rs 40,000, the students will end up paying more than 20 per cent of the amount to book a hotel room for a week.”

'We will be awarded an E-MBA degree rather than an MBA degree'

In a similar incident, MBA students from KJ Somaiya Institute of Management, Vidya Vihar, protested on the college campus after the authorities declared that they won't change their decision of conducting offline exams. The MBA exams will begin on March 25.

The students have been attending lectures online from their hometown and they wanted the institute to conduct exams virtually. The students also complained about not receiving study material, books from the institute.

A second-year MBA student from the institute, who did not wish to be named, says, "The institute is forcing us to attend the exams offline. Earlier the institute authorities had accepted to conduct virtual exams in case 70 per cent of the students agree to take the exams online. The institute shared a Google form on March 21 asking about the mode of exam preferred by the students. More than 80 per cent of the students (over 400 students) agreed to online exams. Still, they are adamant about conducting offline exams."

Another female student adds, "Multiple mails have been sent to the institute authorities by various students but we haven't received any reply. We were also said that the degree which will be awarded to us might be an Executive MBA (E-MBA) degree rather than an MBA degree as we have attended lectures online."

Meanwhile, E-MBA is a post-graduate program for working people and it's a part-time course compared to MBA, which is full time. E-MBA is mostly pursued by executives, managers, leaders and other professionals.

"As not many students reside in Mumbai and will be travelling from across India for offline exams, the authorities should consider various aspects such as our health, financial issues, and logistics. It will be helpful for us to appear for an online exam," adds the student.

 Due to protests by students, there was a police bandobast inside the college to maintain law and order. Sunil Kale, Senior inspector of Tilak Nagar Police Station, said, "The institute contacted us as there were over 100 students protesting against the offline exams. We had sent a team of six police officials to the institute to control any untoward incident and the situation remained under control."

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