‘Three Options for Exams at MIT, All Involve Returning to Campus’
‘Why weren’t we given an option of offline exams at all?’
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Illustrations: Kamran Akhter
We are final year students currently studying in Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Karnataka. We wish to explain the constant stress students have been under since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and more so at the beginning of this semester.
It all started in March when we were scheduled to give our unit tests. Luckily, with pressure from several parents, the college closed down for a week, two days before the assignments were due to be held. The break was extended and we shifted to online classes and submissions in May. We were asked to download an untrustworthy software to give our end semester examinations, a decision which was later retracted. This was reported to The Quint in June.
On 5 November, we were told by MIT that we’d have to appear for offline exams at the campus.
Alternatives Given by MIT
We were asked to fill a consent form and three options were given. First, to report in college in two weeks ie by 20 November. Second, to report to college in a month ie December, for end semester exams, and then return again in 7 months to complete lab examinations. The final option was to give both exams and attend labs 7 months later in college.
This was announced with absolutely no details as to how everything was going to be managed during COVID.
There was a video uploaded on YouTube which showed idealistic conditions and protocols with 7-10 students in the college spaces, as opposed to how the real situation would be like with thousands of individuals.
Despite staggered entry of different batches at college, we would all eventually be in the same space. This begs the question, why weren’t we given an option of offline exams at all? On top of tedious academics, we have jobs to look for after college, internships to look for our 8th semester and universities to apply at for higher studies. If students opt for the third option given by the college, all of this will have to suffer.
Common Facilities at Campus
At least 20,000 students are going to be travelling from all parts of India and abroad to Manipal. Most of the students are uncomfortable to give exams right now as there is high risk of being infected with the virus. Students of commerce and architecture courses (who reside in the same hostel) have also been called back, albeit in batches. So, social distancing and other norms are impossible to follow.
The university has provided us with very vague SOPs, as there is no proper mention of how they are planning to operate hostels and messes.
Those who stay outside campus are finding it almost impossible to find a new flat, that too for just a month.
Students with educational loans feel unsupported by their own and instead of helping with the fees, college is asking students to spend half a lakh more to come give exams in such stressful times while risking our health.
We feel that MIT should come up with online options, using technology, infrastructure and the money that the institute already has, following the footsteps of other colleges of the same league.
Such a short notice and high risk factors seem like selfish moves on behalf of the college which should prioritise students’ mental and physical health before anything else, especially when there are easy alternative options devised and employed by other institutes to successfully conclude this academic year.
(The Quint has reached out to the Director of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE). His response will be added when received.)
(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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