In the absence of any directive yet from the West Bengal government on the future of the final-year college students for whom exams could not be held due to the lockdown, the State’s top teachers’ body has written to Education Minister Partha Chatterjee seeking clarity.

Also read: Calcutta varsity sets fast pace for post-lockdown schedule

Exams should have been held by April and results out by July but as of now colleges are to remain shut till July 31 because of the pandemic. Maharashtra and Odisha have already announced alternative methods of evaluation, and in the absence of any such directive yet in West Bengal, thousands of students remain clueless about their future.

“Though the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed to a considerable extent and most of the offices have reopened, we still have no idea when the students can safely attend classes or appear for examinations on the campuses. We urge you to explore some feasible ways in which final year/semester students at least, both at the UG and the PG level, be given a chance for a test and evaluation in whichever way possible since this will be crucial for their future academic and professional career,” the West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association (WBCUTA) said in a letter to Mr. Chatterjee on Monday.

Weightage and suitable options

“We understand that conducting exams has become all the more difficult after the disastrous super-cyclone Amphan. The State government had initially thought of 50% weightage on the basis of a student’s previous performance and 50% by conducting some tests which could be submitted from home. The WBCUTA would welcome such a method provided students who cannot participate in this online evaluation due to poor connectivity or financial hardship or lack of PC/laptop/android phone are also given suitable options,” said the letter signed by general secretary Prof. Kesab Bhattacharya.

As it is, the spread of COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown has had its psychological impact; the devastation caused by Amphan, especially in many rural pockets, has made the problem worse. And now, the uncertainty about how their final year is going to conclude is only adding to the problems of students.

“My students ask me, ‘Ma’am, what are we supposed to do — should we prepare or not prepare?’ They are mentally quite stressed. That is why an early decision will help,” said a teacher at the Gour Mohan Sachin Mondal Mahavidyalaya, which is located on the outskirts of Kolkata and has temporarily been transformed into a quarantine centre.

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