Upholding the directives of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to hold final semester examinations by September 30, the Supreme Court granted the universities with an option on Friday to seek postponement of exams from the UGC. The apex court rejected the arguments of petitioners and several state governments who had sought cancellation of final year examinations, with one of the arguments being the exemption provided for intermediate semester exams. The Indian Express spoke to the students and officials of Panjab University, Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University regarding the Supreme Court’s decision.
Panjab University, Chandigarh
Panjab University’s Controller of Examinations Parvinder Singh said, “We need to take a call. We will definitely go by the directive of the UGC and prepare accordingly. we will have deliberations after the university reopens on Monday. The mode of the examinations will be decided in the meeting.”
A student of Post Graduate Diploma in Advertising and PR at the varsity’s School of Communication Studies, who belongs to Jammu, Saher Mahajan said, “I am at Jammu at present. Conducting exams is still risky because there is no vaccination for Covid-19 yet. Even if the university is planning to conduct the exams now or later, the situation is not going to change. I do not think it is a good option to conduct offline exams. The online option can be a good option. Fairness of the exams should be maintained. Since everyone in the country does not have internet connection, the university should think about all the segments.” On account of the delay in exams, Mahajan said, “I have to defer my admission in MBA. I also faced problems in getting employment only because I am still enrolled in the course.”
Aryan Sharma, a final year student at University Institute of Applied Management Sciences in PU, lives in Himachal Pradesh, he said, “I think, there has been a lot of communication gap between students and teachers. Even when the students tried to approach the professors, they did not have any concrete information regarding the examinations of final year students. Syllabus completion was a formality taken up in the last week of the semester in my course. Now, we still do not have any idea about the mode of examination. Some of the students have joined jobs. You cannot ask for leave. Still, if they want to conduct exams, where is the date sheet?”
Punjabi University, Patiala
Punjabi University’s Controller of Examinations Jasvirinder Singh Khattar said, “As far as the directives of the UGC is concerned, we have to conduct the exams. Supreme Court has given an option to the states to seek extension of the deadline from UGC, considering the pandemic. The UGC has announced a deadline of September 30. We are also waiting for the response and instructions from the government of Punjab. We will decide the schedule of the exams after getting instructions from the state government.”
Mandeep Singh, who lives at Patiala’s Dirba village and is a final year student of Masters in Public Administration, said, “The exams can be conducted offline but the university should devise ways and means to conduct exams so that nobody gets affected by Covid-19. It is really tough for the students from Assam and Bihar. Now, the exams seem inevitable but the health of the students should be priority. I hope the mode of examination will be decided after considering all factors because even the transport facilities are affected in rural settings.”
A student of Masters in English, Ravinder Singh said, “If the conditions get worse, the UGC should not hesitate from postponing the exams.” He also said that without hostel facilities, offline exams are not possible.
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
The Vice-Chancellor of the Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Jaspal Singh Sandhu said, “It all depends on the instructions of the government of Punjab.”
A final year student of Masters in Sociology at GNDU, belonging to Amritsar, Harsimran Walia said, “The situation is life-threatening because of Covid-19 and now, the exams are inevitable. The students have forgotten whatever they had learnt in the classes. Exams should not be conducted at this point. Students in our university are from various states. They cannot come back because of the exacerbating situation.”
Vanlallawm Kimi from Bairabi village in Mizoram, a final year student at GNDU, said, “I had left the university and the city without taking my books and notebooks with me. It is difficult for me to cover the syllabus without any reference material. There are network issues in my village. If the university decides to conduct exams in offline mode, I’ll have to come back to Amritsar.” She further said, “We have to search for jobs and the delay has threatened our livelihood. I waited for two months in Amritsar before leaving for Mizoram. The governments have delayed everything.” She added that conducting exams during the pandemic will induce stress among many.
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