Hit by COVID crisis, AMU students want exams cancelled

Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

The students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) raised a demand via an open letter and a Twitter storm on Tuesday to the varsity administration for cancelling the end semester examinations scheduled to be held from June 1, 2021. The demands from the students asked for an internal evaluation process for promoting students on the basis of the assignments and internal assessments already being done.

Various students of AMU have written to the Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Pro Vice-Chancellor, and Controller of Examinations to cancel the end-semester examinations of the University, which were scheduled to be held from the 1st of June. The exams had been postponed from their earlier schedule of 17th May after the students had previously written another open letter on the 3rd May with similar demands of internal evaluation based promotions and cancellation of exams.

The second wave of the Coronavirus has already claimed a lot of lives of the AMU fraternity. Apart from the families of the students, at least 32 non-teaching staffers and more than 50 current and former teachers of AMU had succumbed to the Coronavirus. The widespread losses had sparked controversy for a new strain of the virus in the Aligarh area, which was later found to not be a unique variant after being tested by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

On Tuesday evening, the students released an open letter, the students reminded the administration of the mental, emotional, and physical plight and damage that the University students, teachers, and staff suffered during the second wave of the Coronavirus, and the burden they had already faced by the constant stream of assignments for the mid-semesters assessments.

“The University administration seems to have no intention to mitigate the losses suffered by the students and has still prioritised assessments and examinations over well being and mental health.”, the letter reads. “The student community is aggrieved at this treatment. The University administration has failed to take into account the obvious extraordinary situation at hand and have instead chosen to remain oblivious to it.”

It concluded with two demands; Cancellation of the notified date sheets of end semester examinations of all departments and promotion be based on existing parameters of internal assessments and no further notification for assessments be issued.

A student from the Department of Law told Maktoob on the condition of anonymity the ordeal he has been facing at the moment. “I have lost 12 of my family members from 18th April till 10th May, and still few of my close relatives are admitted in the hospital after being tested positive. My mother got her first dose of vaccination which had some side effects, and I’m extremely anxious. Exams cannot be a priority for me right now.”

Along with the open letter, many students of the varsity participated in a Twitter Storm to make the University Administration acknowledge and take action on their demands. However, by late evening on Tuesday, the Controller of Examinations of AMU released another notice which reiterated the exam dates of 1st June for all students except the first semester students of some courses.

A student of political science, whose family had lost two members in the Coronavirus Pandemic, sounded more determined than dejected. “We’ll talk to the Vice-Chancellor, hopefully, and if he doesn’t listen, we’ll go for legal remedies. This is an issue of human rights now, and varsity will have to heed our legitimate demands.”