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Karachi students call for online exams amid ongoing protests

Karachi students

Students across Pakistan are demanding online examinations as they protest against in-person exams

Private university students across Karachi are calling for online examination, amid the ongoing protests against in-person examinations in various parts of the country. Speaking to media, students have asserted that if classes were held online during COVID-19 lockdown then the varsity administration should conduct exams also in the same format. They have also demanded the administration to reduce the tuition fee of private universities by half for this year.

University exams have already been delayed in the backdrop of the repercussions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic. With the examinations due to begin in February, students are urging the college administrations to conduct the tests virtually. Reportedly, varsity administrations have refused to accept their demands.

Taking note of the situation, students have vowed to continue their protest till their demands are met.

The Students Action Committee (SAC) on Wednesday also threatened to expand its protest to all parts of the country in response to the brutal use of force against peaceful students in Lahore. 

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During their demonstration against in-person examinations outside a university located at Jinnah Road in Johar Town on Tuesday, several students clashed with security guards. The peaceful protest turned violent as students tried to enter the varsity premises. During the clashes, at least five students suffered injuries.

“When we were taught online, our papers should also be conducted online,” the students chanted, as per reports.

Students have also taken their protests to social media with #StudentsWantOlineExams and #StudentsRejectPhysicalExams to raise awareness about their demands.

Amid the protests, several rounds of talks have taken place between students and the varsity administrations to reach an agreement. The university has stated that it was obligated to follow the Islamabad campus for examination regulations.

Responding to students’ concerns, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said that the decision regarding online examinations lies with the varsity administrations. However, he noted that he has asked Higher Education Commission (HEC) to consult with VCs to explore the possibilities of online examinations.

“This is a decision for the universities to make but I have asked HEC to consult VCs and see if it is possible given special circumstances this year,” the Federal Minister said in his tweet.

The minister further added that universities would also have to assess their technical ability in order to conduct online exams at such a large scale in accordance with the pandemic circumstances.

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