Students on edge

Lack of clarity adding to confusion, stress

Students on edge

The disruption in academic calendars was on expected lines, but what has students on the edge is the continual change in policy. The UGC has come up with new guidelines to conduct final-year university examinations in either offline, online or mixed mode by September-end. As a one-time measure, the regulator has allowed special examination — to be conducted by the institution as and when feasible — for students who are unable to appear. There was earlier talk that the virus would result in scrapping of exams. What’s more, some states had gone ahead and cancelled all higher education exams. A charitable view cannot be taken of the lack of clarity and failure to work towards a cohesive strategy in the best interest of students.

Since the lockdown in March, educational aspirations and goalposts have gone through revisions in several homes. The answers keep changing to questions like where to study, what to study, whether going abroad makes sense in this changed world, or why not consider this a gap year and put off plans. Already, keeping their wards suitably engaged as entrance test dates are postponed yet again is presenting itself as a huge challenge for parents. The going has been tough for decision-makers too amidst health and safety concerns, but adding to the confusion and stress in such an unusual situation can only be considered a poorly thought out response. No one is having it easy, but why make it more difficult?

The global extent of Covid-19’s blow to education is best exemplified by President Trump’s inordinate decision that those pursuing degrees will have to leave if their universities switch to online-only courses. The move could affect thousands of foreign students who go to the US to attend universities or participate in training programmes. The pandemonium wrought by the pandemic is only expanding. The education sector remains on edge. The test for parents and educators is to keep the flame burning. Let there be light, right.

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