Tribhuvan University finally agrees to conduct exams onlinePlans to complete all the pending tests by mid-August.
Following pressure from students, the Tribhuvan University has agreed to hold the final exams of all disciplines and programmes by mid-August by adopting alternative methods if necessary.
The final exams of various disciplines and programmes at the country’s oldest and largest university have been delayed for over a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, subsequent movement restrictions and the university’s insistence on holding the exams in person. While other universities have conducted the exams virtually, the Tribhuvan University hasn’t conducted even a single test online.
The university, however, conducted a few examinations in person between the first and the second wave of the pandemic, but it had to cancel other scheduled in-person tests after a surge in the coronavirus cases from the second week of April. The postponement of the tests and reluctance of the university administration to conduct the tests online has angered the students who are waiting for their final tests for around two years now.
They have been demanding that the university hold the exams through virtual or any other medium. “The university is committed to concluding all the pending examinations by Shrawan (mid-August),” Shiva Lal Bhusal, rector of the university, told the Post. “We have already directed the Office of the Controller of Examinations and the dean offices to conduct all final exams within the given timescale by adopting any suitable method.”
He said the tests could be conducted in person if the pandemic subsides and virtually if it persists. The examination controller’s office is responsible for conducting the tests for the students under the annual system while the respective dean offices will hold the tests for the students under the semester system.
“We have heard that the university administration has finally given its nod for virtual tests,” Tika Ram Bhandari, a final year student who is pursuing a master's degree in physics at the Tribhuvan University, told the Post. “Our pressure on the university administration seems to be yielding positive results.”
Bhandari and his friends had been pressuring the university administration to hold the exams through a virtual medium as they haven’t been able to complete their two-year programme in which they enrolled in April 2018 even after three years.
The examinations for the third semester of the Master’s in Physics that was postponed in April last year hasn’t been held yet. The tests scheduled to commence from the first week of April last year were postponed indefinitely after the government imposed a lockdown starting March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Similar is the situation of the bachelor’s first year programme. Two batches of the first year programme haven’t been able to start their second year of study as their final exams have yet to be held.
Earlier, the university administration had been arguing that there could be a question of validation of the exams, if they are held remotely without adopting proper vigilance measures. The university also cited possible legal hurdles if the exams were held online.
Dr Dharma Kant Banskota, vice-chancellor at the university, has already revised the existing law to pave the way for conducting the exams online. “We have developed a software and are now ready for online tests,” he told the Post. He said the high number of students and the reluctance of the college administrators to adopt a new system posed a challenge in conducting the exams online.
Other universities including the Kathmandu University and Agriculture and Forestry University, however, have shifted to online tests without any questions being raised about their validation. The Tribhuvan University, which has 1,124 affiliate and 61 constituent colleges, is the largest university in the country with over 400,000 regular students. The number of examinees, however, exceeds 500,000 as there are students sitting exams for back papers. The university runs 125 programmes in the bachelor’s and the master’s levels.
“We are happy that the university has finally agreed to shift online,” Suresh Adhikari, a student pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the university, told the Post. “We wouldn’t have lost a year had the university made this decision last year.”