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Topic in News

Title: Exams during Coronavirus – Is it safe to conduct exams during COVID 19 pandemic?

Why in news?

  • Congress leader Rahul Gandhi recently criticised the University Grants Commission for planning to conduct final term examinations in colleges and educational institutions in September calling it “unfair” during the time of the pandemic.

Details

  • The temperatures of the examinees are being checked and their hands are being sanitised before being allowed to enter the centre.
  • The examinees are allowed to travel with their admit cards during the weekend lockdown in the state.
  • In Prayagraj, the district administration allowed hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, fruit shops, and general stores to remain open given the B.Ed entrance exams.
  • In Moradabad, documents of students are also being sanitised in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 20,000 students trooped to the districtto appear for the B.Edentrance examination at 42 centres set up by the Agra University.
  • Many did not have masks. Social distancing was hardly observed.

Challenges Which Can Be Faced During Online Examinations

  • Students who live in remote areas or areas where connections are bad can face great difficulty in completing their exams on time or even appearing in it. This can affect their grades and performance.
  • Students will have an upper hand in online examinations as they can easily take the help of the internet or the books. The main motive of assessing the knowledge of students will be lost in this process.
  • Online examination process security is one of the critical challenges. Proper authentication, authorization process should be followed to ensure that the right candidate is appearing for the exam in a secure environment without any malpractices.
  • Timely examinations can be bad. If in any circumstance, a school or college is conducting online examinations then they should give enough time to the students for the completion. Time should be set according to the level of questions. All the obstacles that can be faced by any students during online exams should also be considered before deciding the time. This way it will help the students a lot.
  • Several government universities and schools have a lack of infrastructure and ‘practical problems’ so it would be very difficult for them to conduct online examinations.

Challenges Which Can Be Faced During Real Examinations

  • It will be hard for students to maintain social distance at all times.
  • Several students as well as parents will be uncertain about them as they will be feared of getting coronavirus.
  • Students who would be suffering from general cold and cough will suffer as they won’t be allowed inside the examination centers. This can take a toll on their careers.
  • Lack of public transport can also be a challenge for the authorities as well as students in reaching the examination center on time.
  • Most of the college students are in favor that they should be promoted based on their internal assessment and previous semester performance. Let’s wait and see how these challenges can be overcome. Or universities will promote students without examination.

Possible alternatives or solutions for interrupted education during COVID-19

  • With the help of power supply, digital skills of teachers and students, internet connectivity it is necessary to explore digital learning, high and low technology solutions, etc.
  • Students those are coming from low-income groups or the presence of disability, etc. distance learning programs can be included.
  • To provide support for digitalisation to teachers and students.
  • The necessity to explore digital learning platforms.
  • Measures should be taken to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on job offers, internship programs, and research projects.
  • EDtech reform at the national level that is an integration of technology in the present Indian education system.
  • We can’t ignore that at this time of crisis effective educational practice is needed for the capacity-building of young minds. Central Government and State need to take some measures to ensure the overall progress in the country.

Way forward

  • The immediate solution of coronavirus is necessary or if like these days pass then closure of schools and colleges does not even have short term impact in India but can even cause far-reaching economic and societal consequences.
  • To avoid the outcome of the pandemic, progress on three fronts is required: Information, Solidarity, and Action.
  • Education must be at the heart of international solidarity efforts, from debt management and stimulus packages to global humanitarian appeals and official development assistance.
  • India as a lower-middle-income country needs to use education as an equalizer for its widespread socioeconomic inequalities. Focus on increasing the education budget in the New Education Policy budget and decreasing the digital divide are welcome steps to achieve this goal.