NEHUSU demands equal digital access for students

Shillong, Aug 27:

To ensure equal digital access for all students who will be appearing for the upcoming examinations, the North Eastern Hill University Students’ Union (NEHUSU) on Thursday has sought the intervention of Education Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui.

“However, if a decision has been reached to hold the final exams online the NEHU Students’ Union requests your intervention with the state government to ensure equal digital access to all the students by providing necessary smart gadgets and guarantee internet access, good connectivity and uninterrupted power supply for all students, well before the commencement of exams,” President of NEHUSU, Yshua Lyngdoh said in the letter to the Minister in-charge of Education.

NEHUSU was referring to the minister’s tweet on August 21, where it stated that the final year examinations will commence from the third week of September, irrespective of different disciplines and courses.

“(However), we request your facilitation specifically for exams to ensure equal digital access by guaranteeing better WiFi facilities or some form of connectivity at block level, sub-district and district levels, such that students who face difficulties for exams can be assured of equality for the exams in such distinctive centres,” Lyngdoh said.

He also suggested to the government to make proper arrangements at the Common Services Centres (CSC) for the students to get access to the internet, when the exam is held.

“This will enable us to prepare for the exams due to lack of books and access to the library, especially in the rural areas, otherwise the plan for online examination will fail drastically and it will end up in chaos, resulting in a great loss for the students academically with added mental stress,” he added.

Lyngdoh said this decision for an online exam would seem highly impractical and discriminatory in nature, as the exercise will leave a section of the students with unequal access to books and resources, offline as well as online, thereby imposing upon them a major challenge.

He also termed the decision to conduct the examination as impractical in nature, in view of the current scenario in the state specifically with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, where cases are on the rise and the state is on the verge of community transmission of the disease.

The NEHUSU President further pointed out that it is no secret that many Durbar Shnongs have imposed a direction to their residents to undergo a quarantine period of 14 days on returning from Shillong, in order to stave off the spread of the virus in their respective villages.