Within the scope of the measures against the pandemic, midterm exams are held online in many faculties and departments, with the exception of Medical Faculties. İnönü University administration decided the midterm exams are to be held face to face at the Faculty of Medicine. The students oppose this decision and launched a campaign under the hashtag #İnönüTıpMağdur (İnönü University Faculty of Medicine students are aggrieved) on Twitter and demanded the exams be held online.
As the CSSA (Civic Space Studies Association), we interviewed a student of Inönü Medical Faculty on the subject. We talked about what happened in this process and the demands of the students regarding the exams.
CSSA: Can you explain how the exams will be conducted?
Two consecutive exams will be held in one session. We will answer 180 questions in 180 minutes and there will be no breaks in the exam. While these are normally inhumane conditions, it is unacceptable under a pandemic to stay indoors for 3 hours [in a crowded space]. Even wearing a mask for 3 hours is dangerous to our health. At first we would not even be allowed to use the bathroom; however, it was later said that we could go with the invigilator, albeit for a short time.
CSSA: The administration decided the midterm exams will be held face-to-face. Are the courses to be taken face-to-face, too?
Our courses are processed with videos uploaded to the university’s website. Only a few courses were held face-to-face with very few students and the course records uploaded on the Internet. Few students attended these face-to-face courses because everyone is afraid of getting sick. Even the applied subjects were uploaded to the system as videos. The university administration also knows that it is very risky to contact people face-to-face, especially in an institution -such as a medical university where there are physicians and physician candidates, but insists on the exams being held face-to-face.
CSSA: What are your and your friends’ concerns about the exams?
As I mentioned above, while the exam itself is a problem, hundreds of students come from outside the city. I do not believe it will be paid attention to, but let’s say Covid-19 measures were taken in the exam. So what will the students who come from other cities do? We will use intercity buses and public transportation within the city to arrive at the exam space. Isn’t there any risk here? Some teachers may not know these troubles because they drive everywhere by car, but these are the facts of life. Transportation is already a problem in itself, there is also a weekend curfew. Exam will be held on Monday. We must have arrived by Friday. Where will we stay for two days? Nobody cares. The faculty administration does nothing but notify us of the exam time.
CSSA: What are the academics’ attitudes towards the exam practice? Do they support your online exam demands?
We received support from some of our professors, with whom we are in contact in the hospital and basic sciences. They are aware that human life is more important. They also supported us on social media, but because they are not in charge of the university administration, they do not have authority to impact the decision.
CSSA: What does the administration say about the exams? Have you raised your concerns to the administration?
As for the administration’s attitude, everything happens between the rector dean and (veterinarian) vice dean. They are definitely responsible. Exam safety is important, but is it more important than human health? Under a global pandemic, how did they not guess in advance that infrastructural problems may occur? The Rector tweeted, “We will take measures, we will have a meeting (with students) .” But nothing has changed. They ignored us for a long time, but after making our voices heard on social media, the dean’s office responded.
CSSA: As Medical Faculty students, what are your demands about the exams?
To sum up, it is not a smart and responsible approach to conduct the exams face-to-face, to invite people from different cities, to compel them to use public transportation to arrive at the exam space and gather them in a hall for such a long time; while the number of cases and deaths has increased this much, and while we are fighting with a virus that leaves permanent damage to the human body. It should not be done especially in the Faculty of Medicine. There is a hospital in the next building, they can go to the intensive care units and see what’s happening. This fault needs to be corrected. It is not too late. Please give priority to students. I think that especially our professors who are physicians will understand it very well.