Magadh University, the biggest university in Bihar, has as many as 4,50,000 students, and their futures are in jeopardy as the university administration has once again decided to postpone the examinations.
For the students who enrolled for the three-year long undergraduate programme in 2016, only one exam has been conducted until now. For the students who enrolled in 2017, no exam has been conducted yet.
The students have now taken to social media in a big way to protest against this massive delay in examinations. The social media campaign that has been launched by the students is called Magadh University Late Exam Andolan.
“For the students who enrolled in 2016, the first-year examination was conducted in January, 2018,” a student from Magadh University told Newsclick on condition of anonymity. In the recent past, the university was divided into Patliputra University, headquartered in Patna, and Magadh University, headquartered in Bodh Gaya. “The college administration is using this bifurcation as an excuse for the delay in examination. The are destroying our careers,” said the student.
The student said that second-year exams for those who enrolled in 2016 were supposed to start on March 11, 2019. The administration then postponed the examination March 18. However, on the night of March 17, the students were notified that the exams had been postponed till June because of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. This enraged the students, because their sessions has already been delayed so much. The students who were supposed to graduate in 2019, have not yet been able to give their second-year exams.
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The students wrote a letter to the Governor’s office on March 18, explaining the issues they have been facing and seeking an appointment with Governor Lalji Tandon, who is also the Chancellor of the University. However, they did not receive any response to the letter. On March 23, the students yet again wrote letters to the Governor and Chief Minister seeking immediate intervention from them in the matter, saying that their fundamental rights were being violated by the University administration. They did not receive any response from them this time either. The enraged students finally went to the Human Rights Commission on March 25, where they were informed that they will look into the matter, but it will be a month-long procedure.
“We finally went to the university administration, seeking permission to conduct a peaceful protest on the university grounds. The administration denied that the protests will violate the Model Code of Conduct, and FIRs could be filed against the protesters which will destroy our careers. But they are already destroying our careers by not conducting the exams,” said the student.
Prabhat, a student who had enrolled in Magadh University in 2016, allegedly committed suicide on March 23, after the university postponed the second-year examination on the pretext of upcoming elections.
“We could have gone to the court, but we went to the Governor, the Chief Minister, because they are supposed to protect our fundamental rights. However, it seems like they do not even care whether we live or die. What the university is doing to us is a kind of mental torture. We did not expect our lives to be like this when we enrolled for our courses,” the student said.
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The administrative staff has told the media that this time, the examinations were cancelled because of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, as election booths will be set up in several colleges under the university. The student said, “How is this possible? Examinations are being conducted at all universities across the country. Our university is not concerned about the careers and futures of the students enrolled here.”
He added, “Students from all over the country, and from various parts of the world have extended their solidarity. They have spoken up about the issues being faced by us. However, our government is deaf and refuses to hear it. They have not even given us the permission to protest on campus. This is why we have decided to use social media to our advantage. This way, we can reach more people.”