Driven to the wall, the Gujarat Government succumbed to pressure to eventually cancel its high-octane Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit and other high profile events as well as imposed several restrictions in the light of burgeoning Covid-19 cases. But it continues to adamantly conduct offline exams of college and university students without giving them an online option.
After the Medical College in Baroda went ahead with offline exams last week, Gujarat University has also gone ahead with Second M.B.B.S exams that began on Tuesday without taking any poll from students considering the huge increase in the number of cases in Gujarat.
Consider this: When the examination dates were announced as early as November 30, 2021, the number of active Covid-19 cases was only 275 with no deaths and the tally of active cases when some 1,300 students appeared for the Second M.B.B.S exams on Tuesday stood at a whopping 79,600 cases. This works out to — hold your breath — a mind-boggling 25,000%.
Students are already stressed about their exams and there is an added anxiety of contracting the dreaded virus. They also run the risk of infecting their family.
Over 1,300 students travelling from across Gujarat will be appearing for the exam in Ahmedabad itself until January 25. “Over 1200 students from entire Gujarat will be coming to Ahmedabad every day using different modes of transport and will stay at the hostel and appear for exams. The hostel mess follows no social distancing rules,” wrote an M.B.B.S student to Vibes of India. “We are not only stressed about being infected by Covid-19 but also the exams,” the student added, requesting anonymity for fear that she may have to suffer in the exams.
The students told Vibes of India at their examination centre on the Gujarat University premises that the State Government did not even give them an option to choose an online option – the decision was thrust upon them. When asked, a student appearing for Second M.B.B.S said, “We were not asked in any form what we would prefer. I understand that the medical examination has to be taken offline but it could have been postponed.” Several other students concurred.
After almost two years of shifting every aspect of education online, despite the high number of active cases, the Gujarat Government has kept these exams everything offline. Many States, including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and the bordering states of Gujarat – Maharashtra and Rajasthan – have shifted to online mode keeping students’ safety in mind.
All efforts by Vibes of India to reach out to the ministers concerned and State Government officials failed as none picked up the phone or responded to WhatsApp and SMS messages. Right from Health Minister Rushikesh Patel, Health Commissioner Jaiprakash Shivhare, to Education Minister Jitubhai Vaghani and Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi, none responded. Vaghani and Trivedi are also official spokespersons of the Gujarat Government and cabinet ministers. (This story will be updated when they respond)
There are a total of six papers scheduled from January 18 to January 25, 2022, for the Second M.B.B.S. exam.