PESHAWAR: Students of the University of Peshawar on Monday blocked the main Jamrud Road here to press the university administration to revisit its decision of holding physical examination and arrange online exams for them in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Forced by the protesting students, the management of the university convened a meeting of all its deans, heads of departments, controller examination and all other officials concerned to discuss the matter and take appropriate decisions.
The meeting to be held at Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum hall at 11am would be chaired by Vice-Chancellor Dr Mohammad Idrees.The students have been on strike for the last four days. They set Monday as their deadline to take to the streets if their demands were not accepted.
The protestors were mostly neutral students of the university, who had started the strike under the aegis of Khalil Students Organisation.“We used to gather outside the vice-chancellor secretariat for the last four days. But the university administration did not pay any heed to our demands,” said one of the protesting students. Disappointed with the cold-shoulder response of the university administration, the protesting students launched a peaceful protest march from the Administration Block to the main gate of the university on Road No 2, where they staged a sit-in.
A huge contingent of the campus police was present on the occasion to avert any untoward happening.When they saw no response from the university management, the protesting students, who were chanting slogans against the newly appointed vice-chancellor, went out of the campus and blocked the main Jamrud Road. The road remained blocked for more than an hour. It was only after the blockade of the main road that the university sent some senior officers to negotiate with the protesting students.
The police officers had already been engaged in talks with the students, asking them to open the road as common people were suffering due to it.The university officials assured the students that notification on the online examination would be issued on Tuesday. But the protestors were not ready to accept their assurance.
Long queues of vehicles and great rush on both sides of the road were seen due to the blockade.About an hour after the road blockade, some people were seen carrying a coffin from the hospital on their shoulders, which forced the students to end the blockade and open the road for traffic.
Later, the university administration convened a meeting to discuss the matter and take a final decision.Students of other universities have also been holding protest demonstrations and asking their respective administrations to conduct online examinations, instead of physical one, as their studies have been affected by the Covid-19 and they were not prepared for a physical examination.
One such demonstration was arranged by the students of CECOS University in Hayatabad where the students blocked the Phase-6 Road for some time. They were also demanding an exam online.
Agriculture University Peshawar has already announced to hold online examinations on the campus. “Due to Covid-19, we could not study properly. As we were taught online, examinations should also be arranged for us online,” said one of the protesting students.