Amid criticism over its decision to hold proctored online exams for undergraduate and postgraduate students, Jamia Millia Islamia’s Controller of Examinations (COE) Saturday said the Vice-Chancellor had decided to put the exams on hold. They were scheduled to begin on December 21.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jaima V-C Najma Akhtar said: “The exams were being held because of UGC directions. If we evaluate students on the basis of assignments, we don’t want any trouble later with regard to the validity of their degrees. We will wait for UGC’s response before we move further; we are in no hurry.”
Students had demanded they be evaluated based on assignments instead.
As part of the proctored exams, students would be invigilated online through their webcams and microphones. The guidelines also said students would need to make their own arrangements for laptops or computers, and ensure “uninterrupted power and good internet connectivity” for the duration of three hours while the exam is on, and that they would be responsible for “any lapses” on this front.
“In suppression of the Office Notice… published on the university website on December 7, 2020, regarding the conduct of odd semester/year end examinations through ‘Online Proctored Mode’, the Vice-Chancellor has very kindly put the odd semester/year end examination on hold,” COE Nazim Hussain Jafri said in a notice Saturday.
“The university has received several representations from students regarding their problems/issues with ‘online proctored examination’. The university has apprised the University Grants Commission of the concerns of students and the decision of the university regarding mode of conduct of examinations. The directions/guidelines from the UGC on the matter as sought by the university are still awaited. The university shall take its decision regarding the mode of conduct of examination in consonance with the directions/guidelines of UGC on the matter,” he stated.
The move had come under criticism from former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who tweeted Thursday that the mode of exams was “deeply problematic for students of J&K”.
Earlier Saturday, Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam had also written to Akhtar to “reconsider” the exams. “Without adequate facilities and support on behalf of the university that can cater to the needs of all its students, the conduct of these exams would be highly discriminatory and apathetic,” he had written.
Akhtar told The Indian Express that the decision to keep the exams on hold was taken keeping students in mind: “I have not decided due to any political pressure from any leader. This was only done as students were worried and we are always with students.”
Responding to the decision, Mufti Saturday tweeted: “Thank you for taking our concerns into consideration. I’m sure the students here will be relieved.”
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