NIT-Rourkela, KIIT, SOA
and VD College have
exams coinciding with
Bhubaneswar: So what if the Election Commission of India (ECI) and others would want every Indian voter to cast his/her vote during election? Educational institutions in Odisha do not buy this logic. At least their actions prove as much. Many institutions in the state have scheduled their examinations on polling days which would deprive student voters of their constitutional right.
A reality check by Orissa POST found that premier educational institutions in the state such as NIT-Rourkela, KIIT, SOA University and VD Autonomous College have examination coinciding with the polling days. Most of these institutions that admit students from across the country seem to be making it tough for their alumni and teachers to go out and vote.
The EC has announced a seven-phase polling in the country while the state will have simultaneous polls in four phases between April 11 and May 19. However, these institutions, both government-owned and private, will hold exams on polling days, keeping outstation students and teachers out of the electoral loop. NIT-Rourkela has lined up exams between April 23 and April 30. Polling in Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Puri, Bhubaneswar will happen April 23 while Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur will go to polls April 29.
Colleges in the state have made the mandatory paper work so cumbersome that interested student voters would rather skip voting than meeting the condition. NIT students have been asked to furnish documents like their names on the electoral roll, voter cards, among others. A group mail was recently sent to students by the college administration informing them that there would be no change in the exam dates. The mail sent by NIT-Rourkela’s Dean (Academics) read, “End-semester examination would be conducted in time without any change. Students who want to cast their votes during examination period can do so. They are, however, required to take prior permission from Associate Dean/Dean after duly forwarding their application through faculty advisor and HoD.”
NIT has also advised the students to show their names in the voter list and their journey tickets. Photocopies of these documents are to be attached with their applications. Similarly, ITER, a unit of SOA University, has fixed its B.Tech (Sem-II) and end-sem examinations during elections. Its second and sixth semester examinations commence April 15 and will conclude May 3 while the end-sem exam will be conducted between April 16 and May 4.
“Examinations during elections could deter us from participating in election 2019,” said a B-Tech student from NIT, requesting anonymity. The ITER has announced its semester examinations of B-Tech first year, second year, third year and fourth year students between April and May. MCA, M Tech and M Sc students of the institute will also have their exams between April 16 and May 4.
KIIT, another premier professional institute, has also scheduled its examinations in a similar way. The institute has fixed its spring-end semester exam -2019 of various courses between April 13 and May 4. Its MBBS exams have been fixed between April 25 and May 14.
State-run degree colleges have
also scheduled their examinations during this period. VD Autonomous College-Jeypore has fixed semester
examinations between April 17
and May 5.
“If our exams had been finished before election, we would have exercised our franchise. Though I don’t have examination on the poll day, I cannot travel to my hometown for voting due to exam pressure,” said a student from KIIT.
Convener of All Odisha Technical and Professional Students’ Association, Biplab Prakash Mohanty urged these institutions to revise their schedules and hold examinations after April 29. “Everyone in the country is talking about participation of youths in election. But, the way institutions will conduct their exams, youths will be deprived of participating in the nation building process,” he said.
Convener of Odisha Election Watch– Association for Democratic Reforms, Ranjan Kumar Mohanty said election is important for all and voting by students and youths can change their views positively about the nation.