Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has again urged Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to postpone state university examinations citing the health hazard posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and related issues that have arisen due to the crisis.
Tharoor has been repeatedly asking the state government to order postponing of state university examinations so that the students are relieved of the stress in this difficult time of the pandemic.
In a letter to Vijayan, Tharoor said he has received over 3,500 emails this week alone from anxious students highlighting the immense strain they are currently under due to the decision taken by the management of universities like the Kerala University, Kerala Technological University and Mahatma Gandhi University.
With the number of cases in the state rising again, there is a strong health hazard that these students will have to contend with while leaving their homes for examination centres and appearing for their exams, Tharoor said.
Many of these centres are located in regions that have been classified as hotspots due to the concentration of COVID cases, and the risk of exposure is immense, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.
"Similarly, due to the rising number of cases, a number of steps have been taken by the state government and various district administrations in a bid to curtail the transmission of the virus, including reduced frequency of public transport, closure of internet cafes, mandatory social distancing protocols and so on, which have also posed a strong obstacle for our students," he said.
With the majority of these students living with their parents and other elderly family members, there is naturally the worry of spreading the virus among high-risk groups, Tharoor said in the letter dated June 23.
"These challenges have cumulatively posed a strong impediment for our students to perform to their true potential," he said.
"Conducting examinations... is a risk that we must not force our students to face. Instead, these examinations should be postponed till such time as the current situation subsides, or, alternatively, a substitute model for grading and evaluations must be considered and adopted keeping in mind these extraordinary conditions," he said.