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It’s almost the end of November, and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) is yet to release the proper and elaborative information about whether it would be conducting the end-semester examinations, through online or offline mode. Although not many voices are being heard in this concern, yet having a decision on the mode of conducting exams would surely emotionally and mentally affect all the students. So isn’t it be better if the university informs the students regarding this decision in time, so that everyone is free from making unnecessary speculations?

On October 16 2020, the Controller of Examination, JMI released an official ‘Office Memo’ in which various points, mainly focused to the Deans and HoDs of various departments were mentioned. But one point was strangely related to the students as well, which stated, “End semester (odd)/year examination will commence w.e.f. 15th December 2020”. Although at first look, the information may appear self-explanatory in itself for it confirms the conducting of exams from the above mentioned date, however, on a second look, it can be seen that nowhere does it mention the mode of examination, whether online or offline, thus, creating a dilemma for everyone which is yet to be solved.

Credits: Jamia official website

It must also be highlighted that when the memo was released, not only the country was witnessing the continuous fall in the number of the daily COVID-19 cases nationwide, but when we look at the NCT Delhi, where the university is located had by then successfully passed the first peek of the virus spread. But, at present, the numbers of COVID cases in Delhi itself are rising deadly high, and even the chief minister of this union territory, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal has called it the second wave of the virus outbreak in the region.

It is certain that while issuing the memo, the university itself may have perceived that such future might have been waiting, thus, it didn’t make it clear back then and waited to examine the situation carefully and then take the ‘step’ forward. However, in all this, the students are just left with the wait. Many would doubt what even is there for students to worry, for they just have to study, how come knowing the mode of exams even matter? But if the veil is turned up from the issue, the things wouldn’t appear that smooth as they look.

First and foremost, not knowing about the mode of examinations may affect the study strategy of the students. For if the students know that they are going to have the offline written exam at the university, they would concentrate on the important chapters and topics in the specific books. But if the exams are to be conducted online, perhaps through the assignments or online open book test, they would devout more time on reading more about the range of topics which they consider important for their knowledge, future entrances and growth, if not in the current semester exams.

Also, many students from the university come from the far and distant areas of the country, and some even from abroad. Many would require enough time beforehand to arrange their travel to Delhi, and prepare everything in order, thus, as much delay the university would do in announcements regarding the examination, for them the situation would turn quite tough.

Moreover, it’s been about a year now that Jamia Millia Islamia has been far from the ‘normal’ times, and the classes have almost been on a halt- first in the form of long winter vacation which commenced from December 14, last year till late February this year, and then the lockdown from March onwards, owing to the current COVID situation in the country. Not only the emotional and mental health is been adversely affected, but the students, and even the professors, might be dealing with several other issues which wouldn’t receive much attention.

Jamia students vacate hostels, locals open their homes- The New Indian  Express
Credits: New Indian Express

If the university is taking any decision, it must be remembered that unlike in the university where everyone is sitting under the same roof on the same type of desks in large classes, in the virtual world of online classes, the real ‘differences’ prevailing among students surfaces. Some students may have a strong bandwidth internet connection, with a laptop and own a peaceful room to study, but many others do deal with perhaps either lack of or very poor internet connectivity, fighting with the poverty condition in home owing to the job loss of family members in COVID-19, or might be required to take over the duties of family themselves.

When most of the prominent central universities of India like Delhi University have already informed the students about the exam schedule, which is to be held online for this semester, Jamia students expect a similar response from the university too. Our university Jamia Millia Islamia, is today the second home of thousands of students who study here, and all of them are eager to come back, but reopening of university in present scenario would not only be dangerous knowing the concentration of the COVID cases in the area but also would be unjust for many. So why don’t we have this semester too for online like the previous’ this year, and look forward to coming back to the university, with new hopes in the new year, in the next semester?

Aashish Kochhar is a student pursuing History from Jamia Millia Islamia.

Edited by: Shaireen Khan

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.

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Written by Aashish Kochhar

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