#StudentLivesMatter trends as students campaign against conducting exams amid a pandemic

As more educational institutions are coming forward with a tentative schedule of examinations, students are now worried. They are now demanding the cancellation of final semester exams for all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Various posts tagged with #StudentLivesMatter have been doing rounds on social media platforms demanding institutions to scrap exams and promote students as a one-time measure this year.

Recently, the Maharashtra state has been in news for conducting university examinations. Governor of the State Bhagat Singh Koshyari announced exams after the Chief Minister cancelling all exams entirely. Earlier, educational institutes including the University of Delhi (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Manipal University, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) Osmania University in Hyderabad, Gujarat Technical University (GTU), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), and others have decided to go ahead with the final year examinations. While Amity University has decided to cancel all exams. The students of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh are demanding the same for themselves now.

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Another news coming from Odisha, the Odisha government last week issued a revised order that allowed conducting examinations in schools and colleges. “Schools, colleges, other educational training coaching institutions, etc. will remain closed till 31st July 2020. However, conducting examinations shall be permitted,” an order issued by the Special Relief Commissioner was quoted as stated by Odisha’s Kalinga TV. Students took to Twitter to raise their concerns regarding attending exams in a pandemic.

Regarding the entrance examinations, over 50,000 students and doctors appearing for entrance exams at AIIMS were left concerned after the institution decided to conduct the examinations on June 11 instead of June 5. Dr. Gautam Tiwari, a doctor practicing at a private hospital in Jaipur, Rajasthan, “Scheduling the examination at a time when the COVID-19 lockdown has not yet been lifted is simply careless. It not only puts our lives in danger but also stands to endanger the community,” News18 reported.

The decision to conduct final year exams and scrap the intermediate semester exams came after the Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ established a UGC Task Force in order to frame guidelines for exams focussing on social distancing and various safety arrangements to be made.

The students have shown a lack of faith in the government and the examination authorities over the issue citing health reasons. Many say that at this time, conducting exams is not a safe step as the virus can be transmitted in public places. Students said that most of them have gone home without taking any study material with them and due to this they are not able to prepare for the examinations. Students now are also concerned about the rising number of coronavirus disease cases and their respective universities’ decision to conduct exams.

Students have also raised issues pertaining to “No vaccine No exams” in various parts of the country. There has been a petition on change.org for the exam cancellation which runs under #StudentLivesMatter. In fact, the hashtag became the top trending hashtag on Twitter with messages, videos, and memes flooding the microblogging social media site on Sunday. The campaign started taking a cue from #BlackLivesMatter has so far received responses from more than 104,000 users.

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