Exams should also be offered online this month, at the same time as the exam on campus. This is stated in a proposal by the Central Student Council, which is sent to the Executive Board today. ‘We want students to be able to have a safe Christmas and to start the new year healthy.’
Given the current situation on the coronavirus and the high infection rate, there should be flexibility for students who cannot or do not want to come to the campus for their exams, the Central Student Council (CSR) states. Therefore, exams should also be offered online, at the exact same time as the physical exam on campus.
This decision was made Tuesday morning during the weekly meeting of the CSR. The council expressed their worries about the news that students of the Free University of Amsterdam have such a strict attendance obligation during lectures and exams that some students felt forced to come to the university even though they had tested positive on the coronavirus.
‘We want to avoid such a situation at the UvA,’ says CSR-chair Manish Jhinkoe-Rai. ‘The infection rate is high. We don’t want students to feel mental pressure to have to come to campus.’ Right now, some exams are already online via proctoring. But students cannot choose. And that is exactly what the CSR does want: for the student to decide whether he or she prefers to take the exam on campus or online, for whatever reason.
How does this proposal relate to the summary proceeding that the CSR filed against the UvA to prevent the use of proctoring this year? ‘Your home is your place, your safe space,’ the former chair Nina Hol said in Folia at the time. ‘The university has nothing to do with it.’
A good question, says Jhinkoe-Rai. ‘But actually at the time it was the same principle: we want students to have the choice of taking an exam online or offline. If a student says, I have principled objections to proctoring, then he or she can go to campus. If someone is too scared to go to campus because of the virus, there is the online alternative. We want the choice to be with the adult students. We want students to be able to have a safe Christmas and start the new year healthy.’
Today the council will send the proposal to the Executive Board. How big does Jhinkoe-Rai think is the chance that the proposal will be adopted? The exam period already starts next week. ‘It’s true that officially we don't have the right of assent on this issue,’ says Jhinkoe-Rai, ‘but I assume that the board won’t simply disregard the proposal. On March 15, 2020, we went into lockdown; on March 17, the university went fully online. With other words: if we really want this to happen, it is possible.’
In a response the UvA says that the university is aware of the ‘worrying signals’ about the attendance requirement and says it is currently looking at the various options around the exams. ‘We are taking this very seriously and hope to be able to provide clarity on the method of exams soon,’ a spokesperson said to Folia.