Taking note of the bleak situation in the country with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Grants Commission (UGC) chose to implement the revised set of guidelines submitted by its Expert Committee, with the main takeaway being the directive to conduct all terminal semester examinations by September.
Deciding that the guidelines issued earlier in April weren’t suitable in the context of the current education system that has been severely impacted by the pandemic, the University Grants Commission (UGC) formed an Expert Committee to review these guidelines. Based on the Committee’s report, UGC released a revised set of guidelines on July 6pertaining to the terminal examinations and the new academic calendar – the primary instruction being the fact that universities are now required to finish the conduction of their final year examinations by the end of September of this year.
The guidelines by UGC seemingly gave an explanation for its decision to continue with the conduction of examinations by stressing on their importance in shaping a student’s career progress and academic credibility – “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. 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.”
Below is a brief summary highlighting the key takeaways from the released guidelines: –
- The terminal semester examinations shall be conducted by the end of September through online mode/ offline mode (pen and paper)/ blended (online + offline) mode.
- Final year students with previous semester backlogs shall also be compulsorily evaluated through the same modes as per suitability.
- In the event of a final year student not being able to appear for an examination for any reason whatsoever, he/she shall be given an opportunity to appear in a special examination conducted for a particular course/paper as and when it’s suitable to do so.
- The earlier guidelines released pertaining to intermediate semester/year examinations shall remain the same.
The revised guidelines received a fair share of flak from academicians and students across the country. Within a few hours, the hashtags #StudentsLivesMatter and #PromoteFinalYearStudents were trending on social media. Ruchi Gupta, the national in-charge of NSUI criticized the decision to give the go-ahead for the conduction of examinations in a Twitter post – “This decision will lead to mindless extended uncertainty for no discernible benefit. If IIT Bombay can cancel final year exams and extrapolate from previous assessments, why can’t other universities do so? Education is more than just exams and this narrow-minded view will endanger student health”.
On the other hand, supporting the revision, a University of Delhi associate professor, on the condition of anonymity, remarked “I think that the new guidelines are extremely feasible and logical. The clamor among students and teachers to cancel the final year examinations altogether is not a prudent demand at all, and to me personally, reeks of an attempt to disrupt the incumbent administration’s functionality. September is two months away, and hopefully, the pandemic shall subside by that time. If it doesn’t, the UGC can postpone it further till a suitable date. I do not see the point of the commotion caused, and deem it unnecessary.”
According to the UGC, further announcements regarding the upcoming academic session and calendar might be released in the near future in case the need arises, but as of now, the earlier guidelines related to it are still in place.
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