Lok Sabha 2019
The Central University of Tamil Nadu announced the first exam schedule on March 19, nine days after the ECI announced the 2019 election schedule.
CUTN/Facebook

The Central University of Tamil Nadu (CUTN) has changed its schedule for the end semester examinations, as it was clashing with the upcoming Lok Sabha poll dates of many states. The University administration took the decision following several requests from the students.

The semester exams were to be held from April 8 to April 25. Now, according to the new notification, the exams will be held from April 26 to May 11.

However, rescheduling the exams to new dates has still not solved the problem for all students, especially those from the northern parts of the country.

The university has about 1,650 students from different parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir.

States such as Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal will go to polls on April 29 and May 6. Since these dates fall during the revised exam schedule of the University, students hailing from these states will miss their chance to vote.

But, according to CUTN officials, students who wish to go to their native state to cast their votes will be given the opportunity to write exams on other dates.

“The students from these states, who wish to cast their votes, will be given special consideration. The exam that falls on a particular date will be conducted separately for those students. They have to give a request in advance and provide proof that they had cast their votes when they return,” a university official told TNM.

Why the students are still unhappy

Traditionally, Universities don't conduct examinations during the General election season in April-May. But the Central University of Tamil Nadu announced the exam schedule on March 19, nine days after the Election Commission of India announced the 2019 election schedule, on March 10.

“The first exam schedule was not according to the academic calendar. It was done to ensure the exams do not clash with the election dates,” claimed the University official.

The students from other states soon approached the administration to reschedule the exams. And on March 21, the University changed the schedule, but again, it falls during the election season - April 26 to May 11.

Now, with less than a month to go for the elections to start, the students have been left in the lurch.

Even though the University has decided to offer another exam date for those would be travelling to vote, some students who want to take the exam per the new schedule are in a dilemma, because the gap between the final date of the exam and the polling date is too close.

A student of CUTN told TNM that it will be difficult to reach his native in Haryana for polls. “Our poll date falls on May 12. Though the exams will be officially over on May 11, I have to reach Haryana all the way from Tamil Nadu. I am scrambling to find an alternate solution,” said the student, who did not wish to be named.

For some, it is too late to book tickets to travel to their hometown. “The change in the exam schedule is of no help to us now,” a university student from Jammu and Kashmir told TNM.

“It has become a last-minute travel plan for us. Not many students can afford a flight ticket now. Trains are our only option but tickets are not available. And so, I cannot go to my native. I will miss an opportunity to vote,” said the student on the condition of anonymity.

He added, “Hailing from a region that has seen a lot of conflicts, I consider the chance to vote as an important tool to bring peace in the state. It is unfortunate that I had to choose between exams and votes.”