Student Protests Against On-Campus Exams in Lahore

For the past several weeks, groups of students from various public and private universities have combined to protest against on-campus exams.

Several groups of students in Lahore took to the streets protesting the recently passed news by Education Minister, Shafqat Mehmood, which claims that exams shall be on-campus this year. Addressing these protests against on-campus exams, Mr. Mehmood has stated that he has asked the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to consult vice-chancellors of universities to see if their demand for online exams “is possible given special circumstances this year”.

Multiple university students in Lahore have been protesting against on-campus exams for the past week. According to the students, universities had conducted online classes due to the closure of educational institutes because of the coronavirus pandemic. They also say that universities had not completed the syllabus of different courses but now the institute’s administrations were pressing for exams.

Moreover, addressing the protests against on-campus exams and the implementation of online exams, Shafqat Mehmood took to his Twitter to ensure that universities ensure all students appear for exams. “Universities should also assess whether they have the technical ability to conduct exams for ALL students,” he said. “No one can be left behind. It is also necessary to ensure that the online exam system is not misused to get easy grades. Preparing good question papers/ assessment is important.”

On Monday, a group of students from the Progressive Students’ Collective (PSC) said that its Lahore president Zubair Siddiqui, who was leading a student protest, was arrested by police from the University of Management and Technology (UMT) for protesting against on-campus exams. The PSC later tweeted that Zubair and some other students were “critically injured and have been taken to ICU (intensive care unit)” after they were allegedly baton-charged by police.

This has been going on for quite some time now, on Friday last week, a number of students of various public and private universities had protested outside the Governor’s House against the order to take on-campus exams. Hundreds of students had also protested outside Aiwan-i-Iqbal last week against universities’ policies.

The protests against on-campus exams are bound to continue since students are arguing that hostels are closed, fees have increased even though curriculums are incomplete; how are they supposed to appear in on-campus exams in such circumstances? That too, on such short notice.

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