DAMASCUS, Syria (North Press) - On Sunday, the second semester’s exams in the colleges of Damascus University began after the students failed to persuade the Syrian Ministry of Higher Education to postpone them.
Thousands of students at Damascus University launched a campaign calling for university exams to be postponed in light of the overcrowding of hospitals with coronavirus cases, according to statements by officials in the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Higher Education ignored calls to postpone university exams. Sahar al-Fahoum, Assistant Minister of Higher Education for Scientific Research, claimed that postponing the exams would not solve the problem, which could extend for years.
Students fear that the crowding will cause the spread of the virus, which will expose them and their families to the risk of infection, especially as Damascus has become the largest hotspot of the pandemic in Syria due to its population density.
Nagham Issa, a student at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Damascus, said, “I am very afraid to take the exams even though I prepared well...I am afraid that I will get infected, then my whole family will get the infectionm My father is an old man and suffers from several diseases, and his infection with the virus means that his life will be in danger."
"I don't want to lose my father due to ill-considered decisions," she added.
On Saturday, the Syrian Ministry of Health recorded 65 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of infections in the areas of government control to 1,125, in addition to 50 deaths, and 331 recovered.
Some students at the university posted on social media that they would not take the exams due to their fears of coronavirus.
The first day of the exams witnessed a small turnout of students, while the Assistant Minister of Higher Education, Riad Tayfour, came to the Faculty of Arts to monitor the progress of the examination process.
Soha Samir, a student at the Faculty of Science, said, “I won’t take the exams. I do not want this certificate and education; the important thing is that I do not become infected and transmit the infection to my daughters."
Nabough al-Awa, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Damascus, revealed that the risks of the coronavirus outbreak have increased after the virus evolved and became transmitted through the air.
"The virus remains stuck in the air, especially in rooms and closed places such as classrooms, restaurants, mosques, and churches," he added in a statement to the government-run Tishreen newspaper.