Police in Lahore baton-charged and detained dozens of students in a bid to disperse them from outside the University of Central Punjab (UCP), where they were protesting against the latter’s decision to conduct on-campus exams.
Students have been staging protests outside the campus for the last two days in favour of online exams, saying that their classes were also held online as the educational institutions remained closed due to coronavirus pandemic throughout the year.
They also claimed that the university despite failing to complete the syllabus of different courses was insisting on holding these exams.
Students were beaten by the security of University of Central Punjab for protesting at the main gate. Students are gathering again at the main gate of UCP. Private Universities have become a mafia and it’s time we uproot it! We will not be deterred. #StudentsKoInsafDo pic.twitter.com/h4CO97wTri— Progressive Students’ Collective (@PSCollective_) January 26, 2021
Hours after their protest, police launched a crackdown against the students to disperse them from outside the campus at Johar Town area of the provincial capital.
A day earlier, students of University of Management and Technology (UMT) had staged a protest on the same issue.
After the day-long protest, when students entered into the campus, the university administration accepted their demands and issued a cricular for online exams.
Meanwhile, taking notice of the situation Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said he has asked the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to check out if the exams can be held online “given special circumstances”.
“Some university students are demanding that their exams should be held online as they have been studying online. This is a decision for the universities to make but I have asked HEC to consult VCs [vice chancellors] and see if it is feasible given special circumstances this year,” he said in a tweet.
Some university students are demanding that their exams should be online as they have been studying online. 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. 1/2— Shafqat Mahmood (@Shafqat_Mahmood) January 25, 2021
In a follow-up tweet, the minister asked universities to ensure that they have all required technical ability to hold online exams for all students before making any final decision.
“Universities should also assess whether they have the technical ability to conduct exam for ALL students. No one can be left behind. It is also necessary to ensure that online exam system is not misused to get easy grades. Preparing good question papers/ assessment is important,” he wrote.
2/2 Universities should also asses whether they have the technical ability to conduct exam for ALL students. No one can be left behind. It is also necessary to ensure that online exam system is not misused to get easy grades. Preparing good question papers/ assessment is imp— Shafqat Mahmood (@Shafqat_Mahmood) January 25, 2021
Students of Dera Ghazi Khan’s Ghazi University also staged a protest demonstration for the second day, demanding to hold online exams.
The students holding placards and banners gathered outside the varsity campus, chanted slogans against the administration and demanded that their exams be conducted online.
The protest led to traffic congestion in the varsity’s vicinity while long queues of vehicles were formed on all sides.
Few days back, a large number of students of various universities across Lahore had staged a demonstration outside the Governor House.
Similar protests are being organised in different cities across the country. Last week, #studentsrejectoncampusexams remained a top trend on Twitter.