Over 30,000 teachers of the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (MFUCTO) have demanded that final year examinations should not be conducted in view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Teachers claim that the safety of students is a priority. The central government should not throw teaching, non-teaching and staff involved in examinations at risk.
It is unreasonable and erratic to conduct examinations during such a crucial time, claimed Tapati Mukhopadhyay, president of MFUCTO. Mukhopadhyay said, "Final year examinations cannot be conducted in Maharashtra, because the number of COVID-19 cases are only increasing every day. It is unreasonable and erratic of the central government and the University Grants Commission (UGC) to direct universities and colleges to conduct examinations, as there are very high risks involved. The government should not throw students, teachers and staff at the mouth of the COVID-19 danger."
Along with over 10.18 lakh final year students, teachers and examination staff are at risks too. Nandakumar Mistry, a teacher said, "Nobody seems to be talking about the safety of teachers and staff. The safety of students is priority. But the government should understand that there are a large number of teachers and staff involved at every step of the examination process. Teachers and staff will be pushed towards danger as they have to interact with each other for paper setting, assessment, scanning, uploading, calculation of marks and result declaration process."
Implementing a seating arrangement while maintaining physical distancing is impossible as the number of students is large and colleges are used as quarantine centres, said Isha Mandira, a teacher. Mandira said, "Most college buildings and university spaces are being used as quarantine centres. It is not possible to conduct examinations in such a crucial situation."
The state higher education ministry has accepted the stand of the MFUCTO demanding the cancellation of examinations. Uday Samant, higher and technical education minister of Maharashtra, said, "Vice-Chancellors, principals, teachers, exam staff and members of MFUCTO have suggested it is not possible to conduct final year examinations in the state on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are waiting for a response from the UGC and central government."