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This article titled “Varsities ravaging student’s life” has been written by Renuka Bhalerao. Read, only at Legal Bites.
Outset of the pandemic
India whereby inter alia, all the activities regarding education and economy shutting down completely having a catastrophic effect over the country with many people losing their jobs and education of students being compromised. COVID-19 hit India at the end of 2019, first being recorded in the state of Kerala. Slowly affecting the whole country, the pandemic took a huge toll on the education sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had imposed a strict nationwide lockdown on 25th March 2020.
E-Learning becoming the new normal
This has severely affected students all over the country. For almost over a month the colleges were shut, and exams were postponed. This affected academic activities at various levels. College students were unable to attend the physical classes at their respective colleges. Online classes/learning for students begun during this time.
The Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development has made several arrangements, including online portals and educational channels. Since then, Online learning had become the new normal. With all the entrances getting cancelled students were left under sheer pressure regarding their career, this was the point when anxiety was experienced by every other student.
Impact on students
According to UNESCO’S report on 16th April 2020 around 32 crores, students were hit by covid 19 and the institutional lockdown was further extended. Regardless of the situation universities started conduction of new academic year for under and postgraduate on an online basis from April 2020 Itself. Constant online classes and virtual learning has taken a great toll on student’s mental health. Some universities fall under a category where they are purposely harassing the students during this time of hardships.
Harassment by Universities
Varsities are providing no screen breaks, which is resulting in students suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, and bad eyesight. Irrespective of the above fact students, could not take it anymore and started opposing universities decisions regarding the low-key harassment that has been going on students for the past year. There are instances where the varsities are acting carelessly towards student’s life.
Violation of Fundamental Right
Many varsities are conducting offline examinations risking student’s life in danger. For instance, wherein the Maharashtra University of Health Science (MUHS) conducting offline semester exams, which included covid positive as well as negative students, was totally an out of proportion decision in the state of Maharashtra. A great threat to the life of students was imposed by it. This can be considered a violation of article 21 of the Indian constitution. Which states “No person shall be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law”.
Hiked fee & Financial Burden on Parents
Many of the said universities hiked their fees/started harassing students and parents to pay the entire quarterly fees in advance despite non-functioning the colleges and totally being aware that the ongoing pandemic has led many people to suffer through the financial crisis. Despite being fully aware of the mentioned fact there was no substantial relief in the form of waiver fees or reduced fees or proportionate fees as per actual expenditure etc. This resulted in leaving the parents with a huge financial burden and impliedly affecting students right to life and education getting infringed and violated.
Support from the court of law
The affected students of such varsities who started seeking the empathetic intervention from the court of law on the mentioned aspects, to enable students of this country to emphatically exercise their fundamental right to education as well as the right to life and personal liberty, especially in such hard times when the whole country is trapped into a devastating pandemic and the impact it will leave for the probable future.