Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on July announced that UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar had been accepted and it had been decided that students of the final year should be compulsorily evaluated using examinations in the offline, online mode based on feasibility.
Several state governments had requested UGC to cancel all the final year university examinations. However, the UGC Act mandates that for awarding degrees, final year examinations will have to be held.
Students have taken to Twitter to express their discontent over the decision, highlighting the many constraints that they could face in taking the exams such as travel restrictions, infrastructural constraints in terms of availability of laptops, reliable internet connections etc. Most students suggested that final-year results should be declared based on the internal assessment of mid-semester exams including the vivas and projects. The campaign #UGCCancelOnlineExams is among top Twitter trends.
Here’s what we know so far:
>> Under the new UGC scheme, in case a student is not able to appear for examinations, he/she would be given an opportunity to appear for these papers in a special examination by the institution at a later date so that the candidates are not disadvantaged.
>> In places like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Gujarat where there are several thousand COVID-19 positive cases, universities would have to conduct online examinations using remote proctoring services.
>> On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court asked the Centre, UGC and Delhi University to reply to a plea challenging the guidelines making it mandatory for colleges to conduct final year examinations by September-end in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
>> The Maharashtra government on July 15 filed its affidavit in response to public interest litigation (PIL), seeking to quash the decision to issue degrees to over 10 lakh final year students of professional and non-professional courses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
>> Meanwhile, the India Wide Parents’ Association told India TV Digital that they will move Supreme Court against the UGC guidelines and “seek relief for lakhs of students across India”.
>> The UGC issued a statement saying: “Out of the 640 universities that submitted their response to UGC — 182 have already conducted examination (on-line/off-line), 234 are planning to conduct examination (on-line/off-line/blended mode) in August/September and 38 are planning to conduct the examination as per the directions of the relevant Statutory Council.” The data was compiled based on the response sent by universities on the direction of the UGC. Another 177 universities were yet to decide on conducting the exams.
>> According to a report in The Print, as of 15 July, 640 universities (including 120 Deemed Universities, 229 Private Universities, 40 Central Universities and 251 State Universities) responded to the commission and of them, 454 universities have either conducted exams or are planning to do so, in online/offline/blended mode.