With a decision surrounding the return of face-to-face examinations at the semester’s end weighing in the balance for University of the West Indies, Mona students, the Guild Council has expressed concern over what the return could mean for the safety of students.
Having brought to the attention of the university’s administration the many challenges that a return to face-to-face examinations at this time could pose for students, Vice-President of Properties and Special Initiatives Keifa Desnoes says the university has so far provided no solutions to the issues raised by the council.
The possibility of a return to face-to-face examinations was first posited by the university’s administration, following data that suggested an uptick in the normality of examination irregularities following the transition to remote testing.
Speaking during a radio interview on Monday (October 11), Desnoes told listener’s that the Guild Council had raised a number of issues, including health concerns and DRMA regulations to the university registrar regarding the logistics and viability of a return to in-person testing, however, a “substantial response” as to how the concerns would be addressed had not be given.
Given this, he noted: “We believe that it is not feasible at this time for us to have a face-to-face exam.”
He furthered: “Based on what we have heard so far, for face to face exams we would require 71 per cent of the student population to sit at least one face to face exam, that’s 11,000 students. They propose five sites in Jamaica, I don’t even think the tent or by assembly hall would do those numbers any justice.”
Add Desnoes: “It’s not logical, it’s not feasible. I don’t see them logistically executing this without affecting the health of the students or putting the health of the students at risk.”
Speaking on the matter of suspected widespread cheating at the university, which has dominated public discourse over the last week, the vice-president stated: “From the standpoint of the Guild, there is no evidence to support widespread cheating. As far as we know, in the past academic year there has only been 98 records of cheating and 1,200 courses had exams last year, 16,000 students attend the university, that is a percentage of less than one per cent. So we have no basis to say we have widespread cheating.”
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