Several hundred students from various medical and dental colleges yesterday blocked the Shahbagh intersection in the capital for over two hours, demanding introduction of online classes and academic years free of session jam.
Shouting slogans, the demonstrators under the banner of “General students of MBBS and BDS Courses” blocked the road around 11:00am, halting vehicular movement at the key intersection.
At about 1:30pm, police charged baton to disperse the students and cleared the intersection.
The students’ four-point demand include immediate steps to end session jam, introduction of online classes, no fees for MBBS/BDS students for the last seven months and no professional examinations considering students’ safety.
In a notification on October 28, the medical education division under the health ministry set the third week of December as a tentative period for holding the first and last part exams of first and third-year students of MBBS and BDS courses.
Sources at the ministry, however, said the exams may be rescheduled for January or February, depending on the Covid situation.
Talking to this newspaper yesterday, a number of students said classes of medical and dental colleges remain suspended for around eight months due to the Covid outbreak. There is a risk of virus transmission among the students if the exams are held now.
And if any student gets infected while taking the exams, he or she will lag behind the others. In such a case, the authorities will have to take responsibility of the student, they said.
The students also demanded that the authorities find out an alternative to the professional exams during the Covid period.
“We are lapsing into a session jam. We don’t want to sit for tests amid this pandemic. This time, we want an alternative method for evaluation,” one of the agitating students of Anwer Khan Modern Medical College said seeking anonymity.
“We want the authorities to evaluate us on the basis of the exams we’ve taken so far this year and give us promotion and also start online classes,” the student said.
The students also demanded that the authorities don’t take any tuition fees from them for the last seven months as classes were suspended due to the pandemic.
The students have been staging demonstrations for the last couple of days to press home their demands.
Contacted, Mamun-or-Rashid, officer-in-charge of Shahbagh Police Station, claimed that they didn’t charge baton on the students.
He said they chased the demonstrators away to clear the intersection and ease vehicular movement at the busy intersection.