College students in India are being forced to take exams despite the risks of Covid-19

Tejas Kalyankar was watching the news with his father on the evening of July 9 when the final-year undergraduate student at Mumbai’s MD College learned about the fate of his final exams. Then rage and anxiety kicked in.

The University Grants Commission (UGC), India’s higher education regulatory body, had made it mandatory for all universities in the country to hold final examinations before September, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the following days, Kalyankar, who is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and hyper-anxiety, started having frequent panic attacks. “Sometimes I would just lock myself up in the room…I’m ready for an exam but I don’t know if it’s even possible (to) conduct them,” said the mass media student, who is currently living with his parents in Kolhapur, a small town around 370 kilometres from India’s financial hub Mumbai.

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