The COVID-19 pandemic has brought our lives to a standstill. There is complete uncertainty as to when things will get back to normal. This uncertainty has also jeopardized the future of students. Colleges are repeatedly postponing the dates of various competitive exams. Due to this, the academic calendar for the year 2020-2021 is completely thrown out of gear.
The Cancellation of Various Exams in view of COVID-19
CBSE was going to conduct the remaining board papers for Class 10 and 12 from July 1 to July 15, 2020. However, there has been a continuous increase in the number of cases in our country. Hence, some parents approached the Supreme Court. They filed a plea for the cancellation of the remaining board papers. The Supreme Court ordered for the cancellation of the remaining board exams. The Court held that CBSE can test students on the basis of their last three examinations. Further, the remaining board papers of ICSE for Class 10 and 12 also stand canceled.
Due to the pandemic, NTSE also postponed the JEE Mains Exam scheduled on April 5. The NEET exam scheduled on May 3 was also postponed. The CLAT exam scheduled on May 10 was postponed to June 21. Now, it has been further postponed to August 21.
ICAI CA May exam was to occur on May 3. But they postponed it to be conducted between July 29 and August 16. Recently, in view of the growing number of cases, the ICAI canceled the CA May exams. They have decided to merge it with the CA November exams.
Impact on a Student’s mental health
One student commits suicide every hour in our country. This is evidence of the anxiety and stress that a student face, especially those who are preparing for competitive exams. The majority of the students develop eating disorders during their exam preparations. They suffer from acute stress. This proves that a competitive exam preparation takes a toll on a student’s mental health.
Students prepare for the competitive exams throughout the year. There is constant stress to score higher marks in these exams. In view of the current scenario, the fear and stress among students are increasing. Needless to say, these exams already take a huge toll on students’ mental health. But this current uncertainty will definitely lead to the worsening of this.
The Affect on the Academic Year 2020-2021
The entrance tests, interviews, and the admission process take roughly about 90 days. Generally, colleges do the new admissions in July. But this year, it is completely different. The University Grants Commission (UGC) made a decision in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. They said that the new academic session for freshers may begin in September. But with the increasing number of cases with each day and the delay in the exams, this seems impossible.
The Life of Medical Students in UP Amidst this Pandemic
The Principal Secretary of Medical Education, Government of UP issued a notification. This order was about the commencement of classes with a physical presence. This was for the final year MBBS students. The notification said that the classes were to begin from the 29 June. Further, the first-year students were supposed to physically attend classes from July 13. Although the Government has extended the lockdown in many States, the cases are also growing in number. In light of all this, this does not seem idealistic. Rather, this order shows a prejudicial attitude towards students from other states.
A final year MBBS student challenged this order in the Allahabad High Court. The petitioner had another main contention. He said that the impugned order is inconsistent with the government notification. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a notification on the 29 of June. According to it, all schools, colleges, and institutes will remain closed till 31 July. Hence, the petitioner contended that the impugned order violates the above guidelines.
Online Classes- A New Step
Schools, colleges, and institutes have been shut for months. Thus, almost all universities and schools have shifted to online classes. This is undoubtedly the best way to make sure that the students do not miss out on their studies. But the question is whether this option is available to all students? This affects almost 16 lakh children studying in government schools in Delhi. It disrupts their studies due to no access to the internet, laptops, etc. This is a real example to show the harsh effects of the current outbreak of COVID 19.
What’s important- Health or Exams?
The UNESCO stated a dismal fact too. It said that the closure of schools has affected more than 157 Crore students across 191 countries. According to UNESCO, in India, this has hit over 32 Crore students.
The universities have also shown uncertainty regarding exam dates and delayed academic sessions. This, however, raises certain speculations. On one side, there is the academic future of the students. On the other side, there is an increasing number of cases. Due to the crisis, opening up colleges, schools, and conducting exams will endanger the life of lakhs of students. Taking the case of the step taken by the Medical Education Secretary of UP, this is practically impossible. No doubt this uncertainty is hampering the academic future of students. But, right now, the health and safety of the students are more important.
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