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Háskóli Íslands University of Iceland
Photo: Golli. The University of Iceland.

University Students Unhappy With In-person Exams

Students at the University of Iceland have called plans for in-person final exams this December irresponsible. President of the Student Council Isabel Alejandra Diaz states that in no way does this comply with infection prevention regulation. The student council is currently weighing its options when it comes to a response. Teachers and authorities of the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences think that it’s unavoidable that some exams take place in person in the University of Iceland’s facilities, as Sigurður Magnús Garðarsson, Dean of the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, told RÚV.

Earlier this month, University of Iceland Rector Jón Atli Benediktsson announced that all final exams would be online, except for competitive exams and exams where teachers can’t conclude course assessment in any other way. Yesterday, the school released a list of exam arrangements, and it became clear that these exceptions were more numerous than students had expected. According to Isabel, the number of planned in-person exams varies.  “the School of Humanities has only planned two in-person exams, but the School of Health Sciences has 72. It surprised us how differently the schools are taking the situation. In December, the School of Health Sciences has planned exams that would have 1,100 students turning up to the same place. That would be a gathering of people who don’t usually interact with each other,” Isabel told RÚV. According to Isabel, the Student Council will confer with healthcare authorities as well as the School administration and hope for a fruitful collaboration.

According to Sigurður, 53 of the 120 final exams planned for the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences will take place in person in the University’s buildings. He told RÚV, “We assessed it this way, listened to the students and acted according to results of a survey of students’ state of health during the pandemic.” When asked if the students couldn’t have taken the tests online, Sigurður answered that teachers estimated that the exams in question couldn’t be completed any other way.

Sigurður also stated that the University had had a close collaboration with healthcare authorities since the pandemic began and that the exams will follow infection prevention protocols, just like all other school operations. He told RÚV, “there won’t be many tests, so it should be easy to spread students over several classrooms.”

The Student Council’s statement can be read in full below:

Dear Students

The Student Council expresses disappointment with the arrangement of the final exams at the University of Iceland and that the stand/fail resort will not be available this semester. The Council has repeatedly urged the University’s administration to take into account all the students and their diverse circumstances.

It’s clear from the Student Council’s survey, on the wellbeing and situation of students, that students don’t feel well in these circumstances due to COVIS-19 and are experiencing pressure that they believe will affect their progress of study. In accordance to these results, the student Council demanded that assessment methods be revised and criticised the Minister of Education’s new regulation on restrictions of school operations due to stricter COVID-19 restrictions, which did not take into account students despite consultations with government.

The Student Council has demanded that the University of Iceland’s reactions are fair and does not consider these reactions sufficient. Even though the pandemic comes in waves, it is not acceptable to force students to take in-person exams and not offer other solutions, especially when most studies have been online this semester.

It is crucial that students are safe in their studies and that they feel well. We underline that this is not a traditional semester and that traditional assessment methods are not the solution. The Student Council will support as much as it can and continue to speak in your interest.


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