Monash University has decided to continue with night exams in the second semester of 2016 despite protests from students and the student union.
The night exams were introduced in the first semester and were met with opposition from the start.
During a meeting held by the Learning and Teaching Committee in December 2015, Vernon Garth, Manager of Examination Services at Monash University said that the scheduling of day exams were at full capacity and it would be necessary to turn to evening exams.
Within 3 months, Examination Services sent out a global email confirming this, citing growing enrolments as the reason for the change.
Monash Student Association’s (MSA) Education department has repeatedly cited safety and transport concerns as primary reasons for the union’s strong opposition of the night exams which was reflected in a poll that shows that 74 per cent of students were against night exams.
“We represent students,” said Daniel Ffrench-Mullen, one of MSA’s Academic Affairs Officers. “We’re not just propagating our own beliefs. We will continue to oppose night exams as long as students don’t want them.”
“I don’t think it’s fair for students to have exams that start at 6pm at night,” said local Education Studies student, Anthony Lam.
“Students normally have their dinners at that time and that’s when their brains are adjusted to calming down, and their cognitive thinking is slowed down. Even though they have more time in the morning to study, it’s a little too late to be able to retain information and express knowledge.”
However, it looks like night exams are going to remain a fixture of the university for now.
“I think night exams will remain as long as Monash is still trying to cram more and more exams into the exam period while simultaneously trying to shorten it,” said Jessica Stone, another representative from the Academic Affairs office.
Samantha Chew, an international student writing for Meld Magazine, an online magazine catered to international students in Melbourne, said international students in particular could face a disadvantage.
“International students who have just arrived don’t know anyone there, you might end up feeling lost. I can’t imagine navigating Caulfield racecourse for the first time at night,” she said.
Mr Ffrench-Mullen acknowledges that not having support networks is a real challenge for international students. He said that surveys and data that MSA collects reflect that international students face more difficulties than domestic students “so anything that would make university harder, like night exams, is probably going to hit them harder”.
“We do think Monash has dropped the ball when it comes to student welfare.”