The Ministry of Home Affairs has given a nod to Universities and Institutions to conduct final exams/ terminal semesters by September end. UGC has revised guidelines.
“The final Term Examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities; and as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,” a letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Union Higher Education Secretary said.
End-of-term exams, terminal semesters, or final year exams as applicable to different institutions have been stalled in the nation since March owing to the pandemic. This latest announcement gives a nod to conduct exams following social distancing rules in whichever mode feasible – offline (pen & paper), online or mixed (online plus pen & paper).
With the Home Ministry’s announcement came UGC’s revised guidelines for examinations that are to be scheduled by September end. Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Cabinet Minister for Human Resource Development took to Twitter to share the revised UGC guidelines for examinations.
“In view of the emerging situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic in India, it is important to safeguard the principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students. At the same time, it is very crucial to ensure academic credibility, career opportunities, and future progress of students globally,” a circular from the UGC reads.
“Academic evaluation of students is a very important milestone in any education system. The performance in examinations gives confidence and satisfaction to the students and is a reflection of competence, performance, and credibility that is necessary for global acceptability.”
What to expect?
Excerpts of the new guidelines suggest 31st September as the latest date to wrap up this year’s pending examinations. Universities/ institutions might opt for offline (pen & paper), online or mixed modes to conduct the exams, whichever feasible.
The updated guidelines also state students who will not be able to appear for the exams at the time stated will have the opportunity to sit on their missed exams later, in consultation with the institution and university.
The update comes when many states have announced scrapping the final university exams and are promoting students to the next levels based on previous performances. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Haryana, Odhisha, and Madhya Pradesh have canceled the final university exams.
India 3rd-worst hit by coronavirus
UGC’s revision is being received with criticism. Hashtag Cancel Exams 2020 started to trend on Twitter as soon as the circular was released. People contrasted the suggestion to conduct ‘offline’ exams at a time India acclaims the third position in the list of worst-hit nations by the novel coronavirus.
India is a third worst affected country in the world! 7 lakh #COVID19 cases, almost 20,000 deaths (600+ today). Yet #UGCGuidelines insist that students must travel to their universities to take their final #UNIVERSITYexams, endangering them and their families. Shame!— Ruchi Gupta (@guptar) July 6, 2020
Ruchi Gupta, AICC Jt. Secretary and National in-charge of the National Student’s Union of India slammed the move by UGC and Home Ministry saying it will fuel “uncertainty for no discernable benefit.”
She tweeted: “If IIT Bombay can cancel final year exams and extrapolate from previous assessments, why can’t other univs?” she wrote, adding: “Education much more than exams and this narrow-minded view will endanger student health.”
(This is a developing story)