Raipur: On Tuesday, August 31, thousands of students gathered at Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University (PRSU), Raipur, raising slogans against the vice-chancellor and examination patterns being followed.
With placards reading "Kulpati hai chhaon mein, bhavishya hamara daanv mein" (The Vice-chancellor is in shade, but our futures are at stake), students in large numbers are sitting in the premises of Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
Students have been demanding a blended mode of examination owing to the fact that they were taught online and not all are comfortable in appearing for exams in person.
"We are being taught in online mode and we appeared for exams for our previous semester in the same mode. However, this time the administration is bent on conducting exams in offline mode and we aren't comfortable with it, nor are we prepared," said a student of PRSU requesting anonymity.
“Our demand is that the university should conduct the exam in blended mode, and give us an option to attempt it online, because the teachers have finished the syllabus in 15-20 days, while it should have been taught over 6-months time,” he added.
Students gathered from all over the states alleged that their futures are being played with by finishing a six-month course in 15-20 days and then conducting offline exams where they would only get three hours to answer.
"The classes for this semester were conducted merely for a fortnight. A lot of syllabus is pending to be taught and students have no study material available for many subjects. How the administration can plan such a ridiculous course of examination is beyond our comprehension. We will not tolerate this, and that's why we are here to protest," said another student at the protest.
The protest, which started a little before noon on Tuesday, saw students coming in from far away regions to register their resentment against offline exams. The students have said that due to online mode, and the jiffy in which their syllabus was marked completed, they have been left unprepared. They also said that if the university takes exams in the online mode, they get extra time and aren’t bound by the 3-hour limit, and they also have aids while attempting for online exams, similar to the conditions of an open book test.
Raising slogans of "Jaisi Shiksha, Waisi Pareeksha" (exams should be conducted in the mode we have been taught), students of various colleges and PRSU sat at the protest venue in solidarity. They seemed troubled and agitated, and there was also a scuffle between the police and protesting students at the university gate.
A student with a placard at the protest site.
Students are concerned that their marks will drop if they appear for offline exams, as they have been taking classes online and little has been covered in the 15-20 days since the current session started.
Mohnish Pushpkar, a second-year MSc student pursuing a degree in environmental science from PRSU, said while talking to NewsClick, "The issue with us taking offline exams is very evident. In offline exams, we will score fewer marks because our classes ran for a little over a fortnight and there is a lot of syllabus left untouched. This will hamper our future prospects in jobs and further education because the majority of fields are taking in students based on their percentage. The best example is what's happening with the students of CBSE and other boards when compared with that of Chhattisgarh board students."
"We don't understand what's the problem in conducting online exams when other universities of the state are opting for it and successfully completing it," he added.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST VICE-CHANCELLOR
"Every time we go and say something to our Vice-Chancellor or raise any issues , he takes the back route and disappears. There have been many instances when students went to meet the VC and found him sneaking away from the face-off," said a protesting student.
PRSU, founded in 1964, is Chhattisgarh's largest and oldest University, and hosts 28 Schools of Studies and 144 affiliated colleges.
Students allege that they are being subjected to improper examination methods that will only result in them losing out on marks and would prove to be an issue when they appear for higher studies or jobs.
The students in groups have been continuously trying to meet and interact with the varsity administration, but nothing bore fruit.
PRSU has been at the helm of student protests against alleged discrepancies in examination modes, but no concrete step has been taken by the varsity administration. Students say that nobody pays heed to their demands, objections, or problems being spoken out.
"How will we write an exam in three hours, whose syllabus is designed for six months but taught in 15 days?" asked a student chanting 'VC Murdabad'.
Leading the protest is National Students' Union of India's (NSUI) Chattisgarh wing. They have said that the students are being mentally harassed.
A letter with students demands, however, students say their VC is unresponsive and they have less hope if this letter would bring any difference and that's why they have assembled and started protesting in large numbers.
"Teaching the students in online mode and completing the six months syllabus in one and half months is itself a burden on students. Adding to the woes is the university's decision to conduct offline exams in this pandemic," said Honey Bagga, national coordinator of NSUI.
The College administration did not respond to the calls by NewsClick. This story will be updated if and when they respond.