Mizoram students write exam on hilltops due to poor internet connectivity

Mizoram students write exam on hilltops due to poor internet connectivity

A group of student bodies in Mizoram, including the Young Mizo Association (YMA)have come up with the idea of setting up makeshift huts on hilltops for appearing online examinations. This is to cope up with poor internet connection in the state and some parts of Mizoram.

Starting from first June, Mizoram University has been conducting even-semester examinations online for about 24,000 undergraduate students due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country.

The controller of Examination, Prof Lalnuntluanga said, "This is the third time the MZU is holding online examinations for students during the pandemic since last year. Amid pandemic we have no other option but to conduct examinations on online mode despite poor internet connectivity across the state."

The physical feature of the land has obstructed good mobile internet connections which inconvenienced several students, who are writing their examinations online. This is caused despite having mobile towers are erected and internet service providers spread across the state.

Moreover, many villages are yet to be covered by mobile networks in the state due to the hilly areas of habitation.

A YMA branch in Tlabung town in Lunglei district bordering Bangladesh and a Siaha based Mara Students' Organisation (MSO) in the southern part of the state have recently constructed temporary huts made of bamboo, tarpaulin and banana tree leaves on hilltop where internet works, as they find no other option to cope with poor internet connectivity.

In a small village in Mawhrai of south Mizoram Siaha district bordering Myanmar, students used to trek about 2 km through forest to write for their examinations at a makeshift bamboo constructed at Tlao-tla hilltop, where internet facility was accessible. The temporary hut was constructed by a Mara ethnic student body under the initiative of MSO.

MSO general secretary Judson KT Zephatha said that at least 23 undergraduate students from the villages are currently writing their even-semester examinations.

He further added that the village has no mobile tower and 2G internet facility is irregularly accessible sometimes.

The General Secretary said, "The students used to go for about 2 km uphill trek through the forest to reach the hut and return to their village after writing their examinations there."

He also added that not only students writing examinations are trekking to the hilltop but also those taking online classes also used to go there sometimes carrying benches for their use.

The student body had made several appeals to the state government and internet service providers to improve the mobile network in Siaha district but to no avail.

There are 28 affiliated colleges and one constituent college (Pachhunga University College) under Mizoram University and the ongoing online examination for undergraduate students will end on June 28.

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