Today, I opened Twitter out of sheer boredom just to see what is going on in the world. To my surprise, my newsfeed was flooded with the #BoycottPEXA and #usecommonsensemit.
n fact, #BoycottPexa is one of the top trending hashtags in India today. So, what happened, and why are students of Manipal Institute of Technology protesting online?
I doubt that there is anyone in our country who is oblivious to the online protests conducted by various students’ organizations such as ABVP or NSUI against the online examinations that are due to be conducted by the college administrations.
Keeping in mind the prevailing conditions, many colleges have canceled the exams while a few others are planning to conduct online examinations for their students, especially those in their final years.
A similar scenario has emerged in the Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) also where the students have been asked to appear for their online exams from June 8th. For this purpose, they are supposed to install a lightweight exam software called PEXA Lite. This software would be used by them to get the question paper, type answers, and upload images wherever required
The students of MIT are opposing this decision and they have taken to online platforms such as Twitter to raise their concerns.
Why Are Students Protesting?
For starters, many students have moved back to their hometowns having heavy connectivity issues. They are concerned as to how they would be able to write their exam with no or limited internet access.
This is a major issue that is affecting all the students from various educational institutions in India.
But, the plight of MIT students does not end here. The software, PEXA Lite, that the students have been asked to install has become the center of suspicion among them.
The students have been asked to turn off any Firewall or Antivirus in their devices before downloading this software. They have been advised to ignore any alerts that pop up regarding Trojans or Malware. This is sure to jeopardize the safety of the devices and the privacy of the students.
Reportedly, passwords have also been shared with a third party software without the consent of students. Sharing of Aadhar number, bank account details, and phone number has also been reported. This is clearly a security breach and violation of the right to privacy of the aggrieved students.
The software is supported only on Windows Operating System. So, if anyone has MacOS or any other operating system, then it would not be compatible with it.
There are reports of laptops crashing because of this software. Due to this, the other students are scared to install this application on their devices.
The resolution of images clicked via PEXA is also very bad. As a response to this major issue, students have been asked to only type the answers rather than uploading pictures.
This has created stress among them, as many questions require diagrams or charts for the explanation which can only be drawn and not typed.
The software size is around 220MB. A software or file of this size can only be downloaded at high internet speed. This is truly insensitive to those who are hailing from areas with poor network connectivity.
How Is The Administration Responding To It?
While students and their parents are naturally raising their concerns about the pertaining issue, the administration is ignoring their responsibility by blocking their numbers.
MIT is constantly assuring the students through notices and circulars, saying that the said software is safe to install while blatantly ignoring the students’ questions and concerns. This has caused outrage among the students.
We cannot ignore the need of the administration to go ahead with exams but all safety measures should be undertaken and the concerns of the students should be kept in mind. We hope that the administration takes suitable action in favor of everyone.