Students welcome the decision and withdraw their protest
Amid protests over the postponement of exams, the authorities of the seven colleges affiliated with Dhaka University have announced that the examinations will be held as scheduled – but with a few conditions attached.
The Ministry of Education issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying the examinations would take place, reversing an earlier decision to postpone the exams till May 1, made by the DU and the college authorities.
However, the ministry said the dormitories would remain closed.
The exams also must be held through following health safety rules for Covid-19.
The decision to do away with the postponement was made at a virtual meeting attended by Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, the principals of the seven colleges, and the DU authorities on Wednesday afternoon.
The seven colleges are: Dhaka College, Eden Mohila College, Kabi Nazrul Government College, Government Titumir College, Government Bangla College, Begum Badrunnesa Government Girls’ College and Government Shaheed Suhrawardy College.
“The exams that have been going on and are scheduled already will take place. No new routine will be published for other exams,” Prof IK Selim Ullah Khandaker, focal point of the coordination body of the seven colleges and principal of Dhaka College, said after Wednesday’s meeting.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, he stated that the exams of the fourth-year undergraduate class, which were supposed to take place on Thursday, had been rescheduled to March 7, while the exams of the third-year undergraduate class, earlier scheduled for tomorrow, would now take place on March 13.
Welcoming the decision, the students, who occupied the Nilkhet and Science Lab intersections in Dhaka for hours on Wednesday demanding the resumption of the exams, called off their protest at around 4pm, confirmed Abu Hanif, one of the key protesters and a student of Kabi Nazrul Government College.
The blockades at road intersections in the city created severe traffic congestion in the surrounding areas, causing immense sufferings to commuters, especially at Mirpur Road, Azimpur, Dhanmondi and Shahbagh-bound streets.
Hundreds of vehicles were stuck on the road in these areas.
The protest caused a traffic jam at Bangshal and Nayabazar in Old Dhaka, as well as on the road from Mohakhali to Sat Rastar Mor.
Earlier on Tuesday night, the students took to the streets after the DU authorities, at a meeting with the principals of the seven colleges, decided to postpone all the exams till May 1.
The agitating students blocked the Nilkhet intersection again at around 9am on Wednesday, as declared earlier, and the Science Lab intersection on Elephant Road at around noon.
AKM Abu Bakar, a student of Dhaka College who led the protests, said in the morning on Wednesday: “We gave [the authorities] an ultimatum on withdrawing the decision to postpone our ongoing exams, but they did not meet our demand. So we resumed our protests in the morning.”
Abu Hanif, who was at the protest at the Science Lab intersection, said: “We want nothing other than resuming our academic activities, and are protesting on Tuesday’s decision.
“After getting affiliated with DU, we have suffered the most. We cannot be victims of session jams anymore,” he added.
Hundreds of students joined the protests, chanting various slogans demanding that their examinations be allowed to continue, and asking the authorities concerned to take immediate steps in this regard.
They threatened to continue their protests until the authorities changed their decision.
Several law enforcement officials were seen at the scenes of protest trying to negotiate with the students.
Earlier on Monday, the government decided to reopen the residential halls of all universities on May 17 and resume classes on May 24 – a move that came in the face of several days of protests by students of different public universities – ending over a year of shutdown imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ministry of Education issued a directive on keeping all examinations in abeyance till then.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said: “Before reopening, teachers, students and employees will be vaccinated."
There are 130,000 residential students, 15,000 teachers and 25,000 employees in different public universities of the country.