University of Geneva – Spring 2020

Mary Holmes

A friend in Geneva sent me these photos and translations of posters put up by students.

After a semester of online teaching, the University of Geneva is holding a socially-distanced exam session. Among torn posters advertising pre-lockdown hip-hop festivals and social events, students are voicing their concerns.

I’ve been called for civil service duties – I’m working night shifts in a nursing home. Should I sleep or should I prepare for the exams?

I have three small children. The nursery is shut so they’re at home with me. I can’t study but I’m being forced to sit exams. I can’t afford another semester.

I can’t concentrate at home. I’m too anxious about the whole situation. I can’t follow, I can’t read. There’s no way I can sit exams.

I lost my job. My situation is very precarious. The real test will be to cope.

My faculty will remotely control my computer to check I’m not “cheating” during the exams. What should I put first – my diploma or my privacy?

Is this education or social selection?

Our lives have been locked down – Let’s COVID the exams!

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Sophia W.

I teach in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, and am interested in the politics of everyday life, in China and elsewhere.

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