Karachi: Bahria University students protest for online exams

Karachi: Bahria University students protest for online exams

Students of Bahria University in Karachi staged a sit-in outside the varsity’s campus on Thursday and demanded the administration hold their final examinations online.

Zulm ke yeh zaabte, hum nahi maante [These are oppressive tactics, and we don’t accept them],” the students chanted as they sat outside the university gate. Others held placards that read “Say No to Physical Exams”, and “Online Classes=Online Exams”.

The students began gathering outside Millennium Mall on Rashid Minhas Road at 9am and marched toward the campus.

Bahria University students are among countless others who have been protesting against on-campus examinations. The students say that their classes were taken online because of which they faced many hurdles and there was no learning, so their exams should be held online too.

Many universities decided to hold on-campus examinations after the Pakistani government ordered universities to reopen campuses from February 1.

Bahria University, however, even held its midterm examinations on-campus for some courses in November, a student told SAMAA Digital. “This angered many students as the examinations covered topics they weren’t taught during online classes.”

We are not against in-person examinations, said a protesting student. “We are just saying that if you want to take in-person examinations, then teach us on-campus for two months,” he said. “We were taught online and faced many problems. It is unfair for the management to hold physical exams after taking classes online.”

The students paid approximately Rs20,000 per course and none of the university’s resources were used. The management didn’t train teachers on taking online classes and didn’t even spend money on purchasing specialised software or making virtual libraries accessible to us, he said. “Even our Zoom sessions would expire after 40 minutes. Can you imagine that?” the student said.

Many students who are not from Karachi faced internet connectivity issues. The problem is that many students missed their classes because of this and the university’s policy is such that students are dropped from courses if they miss more than 12 hours of a class per semester.

The attendance system is also quite strict. The attendance for a course can’t be changed once it has been marked, a protester explained. “This created many problems from students outside Karachi.”

The management has, however, remained silent on the issue.

Two police vans have been parked near the protest site and before this four to five Naval police cars had come here, a student said. They told us to call off the protest in 30 minutes and threatened us, the student added.

“We are not criminals. We have no weapons. We are using our democratic right and look at their shameful response towards us,” a student remarked.

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