Himleeena was on oxygen support a day before the online exam on June 8. But with sheer determination, she appeared in her third semester exam in biotechnology, which she has been pursuing at the Gauhati University Institute of Science and Technology (GUIST). Considering the job prospects of engineering students, GUIST decided to conduct an open-book exam for the students through the online mode, even as lack of online connectivity has been a big issue for students under the state university who live in rural areas. Himleena was lucky to have a laptop and internet connection at the CCC that has come up at the Royal Global University (RGU) here but the courage she has shown was extraordinary, university officials lauded.
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“The first paper was scheduled on June 8 but I was put on oxygen support the previous day after facing difficulties in breathing. I did not want to lose an academic year and that’s why I was adamant to appear in the exam from the CCC which obviously lacks the atmosphere that supports one to sit for an exam,” Himleeena told TOI on Saturday. On June 2, the entire family tested Covid positive and all four members were taken to RGU.
She is yet to overcome the symptoms of Covid, though doctors declared her Covid-free in the middle of the exam. “When I was writing the first paper, I got my Covid negative report. But doctors said it may take one month to overcome all symptoms,” said Himleena, who just took a break after appearing in the third paper on Saturday. After returning to her home in the city, she took the second paper on June 10. Still, three more papers are left and her untiring efforts continue.
GUIST director Prof Manab Deka was intimated by Himleena through an email about her condition. The institute was in a dilemma before replying to her, as GU has not yet evolved a strategy for a student suffering from Covid. “I told Himleena that in such a case, whatever decision GU will take, we will follow. GU has not given any concrete decision on what to do with a Covid positive student so far as the result is concerned,” said Deka.
Himleena could have taken rest at the CCC and answered a few other remaining papers. But she did not want to get promoted with a backlog. “I praise the girl Himleena. Perhaps she is the only positive student in GU who appeared in the exam from a CCC,” Deka added.
GUIST directed all its students to come to a place where internet connection would be available and decided to go ahead with the semester-end exams. “A year’s loss is a big setback for an engineering student. Many of our students get jobs in the seventh semester itself. Delaying the exam would have affected a large number of students,” Deka said.
Himleena’s father Pulin Deka, a senior information and public relations officer attached to the chief minister’s office, was all praise for his daughter’s resolve. “Himleena has been confident since childhood. She was studying so seriously at the CCC that we could not stop her. I was initially in doubt whether she could complete the two-hour paper,” he said.